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NCJ Number: 220065 Find in a Library
Title: Understanding Sexual Victimization Inside Prisons: Factors That Predict Risk
Journal: Criminology & Public Policy  Volume:6  Issue:3  Dated:August 2007  Pages:535-564
Author(s): Nancy Wolff; Jing Shi; Cynthia L. Blitz; Jane Siegel
Date Published: August 2007
Page Count: 30
Sponsoring Agency: National Institute of Mental Health
Bethesda, MD 20852
US Dept of Justice, Office of Justice Programs
Washington, DC 20531
Grant Number: OJP-2004-RP-BX-0012;P20 MH66170
Type: Literature Review
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article summarizes what is known about the prevalence of sexual victimization in America's prisons and then identifies the attributes of inmates and facilities that increase the likelihood of inmate sexual victimization.
Abstract: According to the literature, rates of sexual victimization in American prisons range from 41 percent to less than 1 percent. Based on a meta-analysis of the research, a conservative "average" prevalence estimate of prison sexual assault was estimated at 1.9 percent (Gaes and Goldberg, 2004). Rates are higher when the definitions of perpetrator and victimization are broadly defined, since unwanted and sexually suggestive touching are more common in prisons than rape. The most integrative of the typologies relevant to prison sexual victimization was developed by Sparks (1982). Sparks identifies six explanatory factors for victimization: facilitation, precipitation, vulnerability, impunity, attractiveness, and opportunity. Sexual orientation, race, and physical appearance have been identified as characteristics that make an inmate vulnerable to sexual assault. Also, prior sexual victimization has been found to be an important risk factor for subsequent victimization. Other factors related to inmate sexual victimization are type of facility (male, general population; female, general population; male, sex offender treatment prison); mean age of inmate population; and age, race, ethnicity, education, mental health status, criminal history, and impressions of gang affiliation. The reduction in sexual victimization requires that prison officials and researchers identify those inmates at high risk for sexual victimization, develop effective placement strategies that minimize the proximity of predatory inmates to those at risk of sexual victimization, and train correctional officers and inmates in the meaning and practice of "zero tolerance" for sexual offenses in prison. 4 tables, 51 references, and appended data on the characteristics of male and female inmates related to the type and frequency of unwanted sexual contact
Main Term(s): Sexual assault victims
Index Term(s): Inmate characteristics; Inmate classification; Inmate personal security; Prison conditions; Prison management; Prisoner sexual assault
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