Reports of Sexual Victimization in Prison on the Rise

Earlier this week, the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics released its latest data on sexual victimization in prison. The research covers four different types of sexual victimization over the years 2005-2008: nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contact, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment.

The trends are not good: reported incidents of sexual victimization in prison increased by 21 percent from 2005 to 2008.  Most of the increase (67 percent) was due to a rise in inmate-on-inmate abusive sexual contact (fondling-type conduct).

Even with the increase, the overall numbers are not as high as I would have guessed — just 3.8 per 1,000 prison inmates in 2008.  (If federal prisons are excluded, the number rises to 4.2 per 1,000.)

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Prison Accreditation and Accountability

Lynn Branham has an interesting new paper on SSRN entitled “Accrediting the Accreditors: A New Paradigm for Correctional Oversight.”  It includes a lot of helpful background information about prison accreditation, which is not something I knew anything about.  Although Branham believes that the American Correctional Association’s Commission on Accreditation for Corrections has done a lot of good over the years, she also acknowledges some important shortcomings.  Most importantly, the accreditation process is voluntary and fee-based.

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