New York Civil Rights And Criminal Defense Lawyers

Prisoners facing rising rates of violence, sexual abuse

On Behalf of | Thursday Sep 10, 2020 | Prisoner's Rights

When you have a loved one in prison, you may find yourself worrying about him or her and the treatment your loved one receives behind bars. The number of prisoners making allegations about sexual assault, harassment and other forms of abuse has risen sharply in recent years, indicating that your concerns may have merit.

According to Penn State University, the number of sexual harassment and assault complaints coming from American prisoners spiked 180% between 2011 and 2015. In 2011, prisoners filed 8,768 such allegations. By 2015, this figure had increased to 24,661 allegations. In New York, specifically, inmates made 120 abuse allegations concerning prison guards between 2010 and 2015

Contributing factors

What is it about the American prison system that places your loved one at high risk of sexual assault, harassment and other forms of abuse? Many believe it is a combination of factors that make violence and sexual violence particularly rampant in jails and prisons.

Widespread mismanagement is one such factor. Defective policies and dangerous practices that take place in many prison systems also exacerbate the issue.

Complaints often ignored

Further complicating matters is the fact that many prisoners neglect to publicize their mistreatment because they fear others are not going to believe them. Research shows that correctional officers never follow up on the majority of allegations made by prisoners because, historically, only about 8.5% of such allegations were accurate.

Even if your loved one does make a formal complaint about the mistreatment he or she received in jail or prison, there is a high chance that the complaint goes unnoticed. Of those 120 abuse allegations made against New York prison guards between 2010 and 2015, only eight resulted in the accused guard’s dismissal.