The general attitude toward sexual abuse in jails has been normalized over the years, even with jokes in television and movies, says USA Today. It’s become general knowledge that rape and sexual misconduct is what happens, and worse, inevitable, to inmates in jail, and it’s unacceptable.

Sexual abuse within the jail system is an ongoing problem. According to a report from 2016 through 2018 from the US Department of Justice, thousands of inmates have been victimized from both inmate-on-inmate abuse and staff-on-inmate abuse.

In prison systems in California, reporting sexual abuse has just begun. At least 17 current and previous employees of FCI Dublin are under investigation for sexual misconduct, says LA Times. A culture of “enforced silence and obedience,” and “violence and threats of violence” has kept inmates scared and quiet about reporting.

As told by USA Today, inmates underreported staff sexual abuse with only about a quarter of the victims informing authorities. The largest population victimized were women inmates (67%), with most of the perpetrators being officers within the facilities, over 40, and white. Many incidents of sexual abuse took place in “dead zones” of the prisons, where surveillance cameras were missing.

Women inmates in California state prisons particularly have been victimized. They are not only in danger of harassment, but of severe sexual abuse. Sexual abuse of women in prison systems across the nation is a widespread issue, says LA Times. A government survey claims over 3,500 women have been abused by officers in jails and prisons each year. The women imprisoned with sexual predators have no way out and fear of reporting, says the LA Times, referring to the situation as “every woman’s worst nightmare.”

Hundreds of complaints have been filed by women inmates in California prisons since 2014, says The Guardian, but not enough justice has taken place. Only four guards have been terminated and four guards have been faced with criminal charges, says the article. Many women are scared to report abuse because of retaliation or fear of being ignored completely. ““California paid no attention to their well-being, left them to suffer at the hands of the worst kinds of sexual deviants, and made them relive their pain daily while being locked behind bars,”” says LA Times.


Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003

Not only is sexual abuse in jail a heinous misuse of power, it’s also highly illegal. According to the National Institute of Corrections, the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 states a zero-tolerance policy of sexual abuse, standards of prevention, protection, and reduction and punishment of sexual abuse, and collection of information. This applies to all public and private institutions that hold juvenile and adult inmates. According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, inmates are encouraged to report incidents of sexual abuse immediately and will be thoroughly investigated.

California state law gives sexual abuse victims up to ten years after the incident to sue the alleged assailant. Victims are also allowed to sue ten years after the alleged assailant has left the law enforcement position where the abuse took place.


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Justice for sexual abuse victims in jail

Sexual Abuse in Jail Should Not Be Tolerated: Contact a California Attorney Now

It cannot be overstated—any abuse in-custody cannot and should not be tolerated, and this includes any forms of sexual abuse. Please contact the experienced civil rights attorneys at The Sehat Law Firm to tell us your story. You or your loved one who has been a victim of sexual abuse needs to come forward so we can bring justice and help prevent this from happening again.