Jails and prison staff rarely face legal consequences for sexual assault, according to New information Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released.
BJS released details this week on more than 2,500 substantiated incidents of sexual assault in US jails and prisons between 2016 and 2018. The data clearly show how federal, state and local officials have ignored their constitutional responsibility to protect incarcerated people from sexual assault, despite federal laws intended to create a zero-tolerance policy for prison rape.
For example, the report found that perpetrators of sexual misconduct by staff were only convicted, sentenced, fined or convicted in 20 percent of cases in prison, and in only 6 percent of cases proven in prison.
And less than half of these workers lost their jobs. “Sexual misconduct by employees resulted in the dismissal, termination or non-renewal of the employment contract in 44 percent of cases,” the report said. “Employee perpetrators were reprimanded or disciplined after 43 percent of sexual harassment incidents.”
Linda McFarlane, executive director of Just Detention International, said in a statement, “This report lifts the curtain on the continued failure to hold U.S. prisons and prison staff accountable for sexual abuse.” “Prisons and prison staff are sexually abusing people under their care and getting away with it – even when an investigation confirms they did it. This is a textbook case of impunity, and it’s unacceptable.”
As far as federal law is concerned, there is no such thing as consensual sex between a correctional officer and an incarcerated person. It’s sexual abuse, always. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003 was supposed to create a zero-tolerance policy for sexual assault in US prisons.
However, PREA is essentially toothless and a bad joke in many prisons. In December, a former PREA compliance officer at FCI Dublin, a federal women’s prison in California, pleaded guilty to sexually abusing incarcerated women.
The BJS report also found that half of both prisoner-on-mate and staff-on-mate incidents occurred in areas not under video surveillance.
The BJS report comes out in December Senate investigation which found that the Bureau of Prisons (BOP) failed to implement PREA, and long delays in investigating complaints resulted in a backlog of more than 8,000 internal affairs cases. The investigation, conducted by the Senate’s Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations (PSI), concluded that this management failure “failed to detect serious, repeated sexual abuse at at least four facilities.”
“The BOP’s internal affairs practices failed to hold employees accountable, and multiple confessed sex offenders were not criminally prosecuted as a result,” the PSI report said. “Moreover, for a decade, the BOP has failed to respond to these abuses or implement agency-wide reforms.”
A PSI investigation found that BOP staff sexually assaulted female inmates in at least two-thirds of federal women’s prisons over the past decade.
In response to the inquiry, Sen. John Ossoff (D–Ga.) co-sponsored the Federal Independent Oversight Act This bill will, Among other thingsCreate an independent committee to investigate complaints received from prison staff, incarcerated persons or their loved ones.
Some amendments have already been passed. At the end of last year, President Joe Biden said Signed the Prison Camera Reform Act The law, which requires the BOP to fix broken surveillance camera systems and improve their coverage.
However, these bills affect only the federal prison system. Prison rape scandals have emerged in many state prison systems, viz Florida, new jerseyAnd Alabama.