Recently, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) released the first-ever National Former Prisoner Survey. The document captures sexual victimization reported by 17,738 former state prisoners from 40 different states. The study includes topics such as prevalence of sexual victimization and its consequences, coercion and physical injury, individual risk factors and facility characteristics. Highlights of the report include:
Prevalence and consequences of sexual victimization
- About 5.3% of former state prisoners reported an incident that involved facility staff. An estimated 1.2% of former prisoners reported that they unwillingly had sex or sexual contact with facility staff, and 4.6% reported that they “willingly” had sex or sexual contact with staff.
- The majority of victims of staff sexual misconduct involving unwilling activity said they felt shame or humiliation (79%) and guilt (72%) following their release from prison. More than half (54%) reported having difficulty feeling close to friends or family members as a result of the sexual victimization.
Coercion and physical Injury
- Among victims of inmate-on-inmate sexual violence, a quarter had been physically held down or restrained, and a quarter had been physically harmed or injured.
- Half of all victims of staff sexual misconduct said they had been offered favors or special privileges; a third said they had been persuaded or talked into it.
Individual risk factors
- The rate of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization was at least 3 times higher for females (13.7%) than males (4.2%).
- The rate of “willing” sexual activity with staff was higher among males (4.8%) than females (2.6%), and the rate of unwilling sexual activity was higher among females (2.5%) than males (1.1%).
To view the full report go to http://www.bjs.gov/content/pub/pdf/svrfsp08.pdf