All Too Familiar: Sexual Abuse of Women in US State Prisons
This article is a culmination of years long investigations conducted by Human Rights Watch, of sexual abuse that takes place in US state prisons. The first half of the article is a summary of the investigations, and the second half is a list of detailed policy recommendations the US should implement to comply with international human rights standards. The focus of the summary was sexual misconduct perpetrated by male correctional officers upon female prisoners, and the gross negligence of prison administration in investigating such reports. In many cases, prisoner testimony about sexual misconduct is automatically assumed to be false, and correctional officers are protected by the administration. Even in those cases which the CO is found guilty, the response is very light punishment. Often the CO stays in their position, or has no trouble finding work at a different facility. The policy suggestions focus on creating a system of accountability, and an independent body to investigate claims of sexual misconduct.