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‘4.5 percent of US prisoners report sexual abuse’


Washington : Nearly one in 20 inmates of US prisons reported being sexually victimized in the previous 12 months, according to a report.

The report from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, released by the government Sunday, said 4.5 percent of state and federal prisoners surveyed reported being raped or sexually abused in jail, with 2.1 percent of inmates reporting sexual abuse involving another inmate and 2.9 percent reporting misconduct involving prison staff.

More than 23,000 prisoners at 146 prisons were surveyed to comply with a law that aims to prevent prison rape. Inmates at only six prisons reported no incidents, and 10 facilities had more than 9.3 percent of prisoners report sexual abuse against them.

The bureau said the confidential survey was based only on prisoner allegations and noted about a quarter of allegations made to prison authorities in 2006 were “unfounded”.

The 1.6 million prisoners in US federal and state jails represent one of the highest per capita prison populations in the world.

New York-based Human Rights Watch said the report made “clear that prison authorities are not doing enough to prevent these serious crimes”.

“Prison rape is not inevitable, but it is all to predictable when prison authorities fail to enforce a zero-tolerance policy on sexual abuse,” said Jamie Fellner, a senior official at the rights organization.

Five of the ten jails with the highest reported rates of inmate-on-inmate victimization are in Texas, and the rights group called on authorities there to do more to stop sexual abuse in those facilities.