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Combating Rape in Prisons

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The editorial "A Prison Nightmare" rightly noted that prison rape is widespread and unacceptable. However, the problem is more pervasive than the editorial suggests. The Bureau of Justice Statistics survey cited in the editorial estimated that 60,500 state and federal prisoners were sexually abused in the past year. That survey did not include the 1 million detainees housed in county jails, juvenile halls and other facilities.

A similar Bureau of Justice Statistics survey published in 2008 found that 25,000 county detainees had been sexually abused in the past six months. These are snapshot surveys, reaching only the inmates present on a particular day. The annual number of admissions to county jails is 17 times higher than the jail population on any day, so the surveyors covered only a fraction of the detainees. Sadly, the number of inmates sexually abused every year is significantly higher than 60,500.

LOVISA STANNOW

Executive Director

Just Detention International

Los Angeles


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