A recent, nationally important piece was included in a Denver source that serves as a pressing call to action for human rights supporters. The Justice Department's Bureau of Statistics investigated the United States' prison and jail systems and uncovered the truth behind the sexual abuse that occurs within the country's correctional facilities.
Too often, the issue of sexual assault in prisons and jails is discussed as a joke in the community, but for the men and women who are serving time as a requirement to move on with their lives, rape is not a laughing matter. It's taking an already traumatic experience and compounding it by turning prisoners into victims of sexual assault within the walls of a government-funded system.
According to the Justice Department's research, not only are men and women being raped in our prisons and jails, but the rate of sexual assault is much higher than both the community and government officials ever believed it was. And the abuse often starts right away.
The study shows that, especially for men, the first 24 hours in lockup is primetime for the sexual assault to occur. Almost 20 percent of men who report being sexually assaulted while in jail are sexually assaulted within their first day in the facility. For male prison inmates, 13 percent are abused during that time.
Female inmates, whether in prison or jail, stand a lesser chance of being sexually assaulted in the first 24 hours, with 4 percent of the surveyed population claiming that they were victimized within that time. But don't mistake that statistic as meaning that women are safer than men from sexual victimization behind bars. In fact, according to research, female inmates are more than twice as likely to be sexually assaulted by a fellow inmate.
Check in tomorrow to learn about what certain human rights groups are trying to do in order to create a safer and, therefore, more effective correctional system. Also, we will share the story of one former Colorado inmate whose experience exemplifies what is wrong with the system.
TheDenverChannel.com: Female Inmates More Than Twice As Likely To Be Abused: (8/26/2010)