Ms. magazine  -- more than a magazine a movement

SIGN UP FOR MS. DIGEST, JOBS, NEWS AND ALERTS

FEMINIST WIRE NEWSBRIEFS

ABOUT
SEE CURRENT ISSUE
SHOP MS. STORE
MS. IN THE CLASSROOM
FEMINIST DAILY WIRE
FEMINIST RESOURCES
PRESS
JOBS AT MS.
READ BACK ISSUES
CONTACT
RSS (XML)
 
feminist wire | daily newsbriefs

April-12-99

Large Percentage of Inmates Abused Prior to Incarceration

A U.S. Justice Department report issued yesterday revealed that a high percentage of prison inmates have suffered physical or sexual abuse prior to their incarceration.

Most of the abuse took place during the inmates' childhood and was carried out by spouses, boyfriends, parents, family friends, and other relatives.

Among women in state and federal prisons and local jails, nearly half reported that they had been physically or sexually abused. The comparable rate for men was much lower, at 10%. The highest incidence of prior abuse was found among female state prison inmates, at 57%. One-third of these women also reported that they had been raped before entering prison.

Female inmates were most-often abused by a spouse or boyfriend. Among male inmates, the majority said that a parent or guardian had abused them.

Three main criteria appeared to influence whether or not an inmate suffered abuse. First, women and girls were more likely to suffer abuse prior to incarceration than were men. Second, inmates' likelihood of suffering physical or sexual abuse increased when s/he had a parent who abused alcohol or drugs. Third, inmates who had lived in foster care homes or institutions were more likely to report past abuse.

Justice Department statistician Caroline Wolf Harlow compiled the report's finding, which she described as "striking" and "sobering." One of the study's strongest findings was a relationship between prior abuse and conviction for violent crimes.

Among male inmates who reported that they had been physically or sexually abused, 75% had been convicted of a violent crime. Among male inmates who reported no abuse, 46% had violent crime convictions. A similar pattern was found among women. Nearly one-half of the women inmates who reported past abuse had also been convicted of a violent crime, while that percentage decline to 21% among women who reported that they had no suffered physical or sexual abuse.

Media Resources: New York Times and Washington Post - April 12, 1999


© Feminist Majority Foundation, publisher of Ms. magazine

If you liked this story, consider making a tax-deductible donation to support Ms. magazine.

 

 

Send to a Friend
Their
Your
Comments
(optional)


More Feminist News

10/21/2014 Afghanistan's New First Lady Advances Women's Issues - Just a few days after moving to the presidential palace, Afghanistan's new First Lady Rula Ghani said that she hopes to encourage greater respect for women. Rula Ghani already broke tradition by participating in her husband, Ashraf Ghani Ahmadzai's, campaign for President. . . .
 
10/21/2014 Hulu Silences Rape Survivor Speaking Out Against Anti-Abortion Amendment 67 in Colorado - Hulu, an online, ad-supported streaming service, has refused to run an advertisement from the "No on 67" campaign in Colorado, citing the company's policy regarding "controversial" political positions on issues like abortion. In a letter to the CEO of Hulu, dated October 10, the Vote No on 67 Campaign, which is supported by the Feminist Majority Foundation, asked the company to reconsider its unwillingness to air a 35-second spot featuring a rape survivor's testimony about the far-reaching impact of Colorado's proposed Amendment 67. . . .
 
10/21/2014 Obama Administration Issues New Rule to Strengthen Response to Campus Sexual Violence - The Obama Administration announced a new rule last week to more effectively address sexual violence on college campuses by increasing transparency around campus disciplinary proceedings involving sexual violence and establishing rights for survivors within those proceedings. The new rule, announced by the Department of Education, implements changes to the Clery Act, which requires all colleges and universities that participate in federal financial aid in the United States to publicly report crime information. . . .