Sexual Victimization of Juveniles Incarcerated in Jails and Prisons: An Exploratory Study of Prevalence and Risk Factors

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Abstract

This exploratory research quantifies the prevalence of sexual victimization of juvenile inmates ages 16–17 housed in the adult correctional system in the United States, using data collected from 1,618 juveniles during the National Inmate Survey (NIS-3) conducted between 2011 and 2012. The study presents a number of policy directives to further reduce the number of inmates under the age of 18 subject to sexual crimes while incarcerated. First, there is a need for inmates aged 16 and 17 to be extensively screened for risk of victimization at intake. Second, correctional administrations need to clearly define, communicate, and model appropriate behavior for employees, and to respond swiftly and definitively when a reported incident occurs. Lastly, states, counties, and territories must reassess both their juvenile waiver policies and their protocols for housing juveniles in facilities with older inmates. The NIS data, as well as prior research, indicate that juveniles are being waived into the adult justice system, and housed pretrial in adult facilities, for non-violent offenses. Key stakeholders in criminal justice, child welfare, state legislatures, and the general public should demand greater transparency within the waiver process.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)793-810
Number of pages18
JournalVictims and Offenders
Volume14
Issue number7
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 3 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Pathology and Forensic Medicine
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology
  • Law

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