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Addressing Sexual Violence in Prisons: A National Snapshot of Approaches and Highlights of Innovative Strategies, Final Report

NCJ Number
Date Published
October 2006
186 pages
This study provides a nationwide view of State departments of correction's (DOC's) initiatives to address prison sexual violence (PSV) and identifies practices that seem to be promising or innovative, although no formal evaluations have been conducted.
The study found that State DOCs have done much to prevent PSV and respond to PSV offenses through investigations, prosecution, documentation, and victim services. Thirty-five States reported having policies and programs to prevent PSV. The most frequently mentioned prevention measures included inmate housing assignment and transfer strategies based on risk assessment and misconduct records, initiatives that address overcrowding, and inmate education. Some States used security review teams, mapping systems, and surveillance strategies in order to identify and address facility design vulnerabilities. Thirty-eight States reported having policies and programs in place to investigate reports of PSV and prosecute cases when appropriate. Official policies or protocols included many similar elements, including response to incidents that occurred in the past, immediate response to recent incidents, separation of the victim and alleged perpetrator, securing the crime scene, evidence collection from perpetrators and victims, chain-of-command and notification requirements, and reporting and documentation requirements. Thirty-eight States reported having procedural responses in place to address victim reports and victim safety. Forty States reported providing some victims services such as medical service, medical testing for communicable diseases, and victim protective measures. The study involved a survey of State correctional administrators and follow-up phone interviews with leaders of State DOCs. The Survey of Promising Practices involved phone interviews with 58 DOC representatives. Case studies were based on site visits to States that could provide the most informative lessons on addressing PSV. Eleven States were chosen for case studies. 35 references and appended summaries of case study States' programs to address prison sexual violence

Date Published: October 1, 2006