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Sexual Violence in the Texas Prison System

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2006
75 pages
This examination of nearly 2,000 officially reported sexual assaults in Texas prisons between 2002 and 2005 describes victim and offender characteristics; the time and location of the assaults; and the influence of the prison environment on the prevalence and nature of prison violence.
Many of the inmates' allegations of sexual assault were not reported in a timely manner and had no independent witnesses to the alleged assault. These are major problems in attempting to sustain an allegation. Approximately two-thirds of reported sexual assaults allegedly occurred in a cell, followed by the shower or bathroom area, dorms, and common areas; 75 percent of sustained assaults occurred in cells. Just over 50 percent of the sustained assaults yielded forensic evidence obtained from a rape kit or a forensic exam; however, rape kits and forensic exams were performed in only 20 percent of all alleged sexual assaults. Time delays prevented the obtaining of such evidence in most cases. The small percentage of victims and assailants (approximately 2 percent) prevented the development of a statistical profile of potential victims and offenders; however, White inmates were attacked more often than inmates of any other race (60 percent), and 68 percent of the sustained incidents involved Black offenders, followed by 19 percent Hispanic offenders and 12 percent White offenders. Victims were generally younger than the offenders. Offenders were more likely to have been convicted of violent offenses, and victims were more likely to have been convicted of a sexual assault or a nonviolent sex offense. Recommendations are offered for ways to prevent and facilitate the prompt reporting of inmate sexual assaults. Attention is given to the production and dissemination of empirical research on the characteristics of incidents of sexual assault, screening methods that can better identify inmates likely to become involved in sexual assaults, and administrative and management methods that can prevent inmate sexual assaults. 27 tables and a Sexual Assault Victim/Assailant Profile Checklist

Date Published: March 1, 2006