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

3/27/2015 Security and Women's Rights are Essential to Afghan Recovery - President Ashraf Ghani and a delegation of some 70 plus Afghan leaders came to the US this week to urge Congress and President Obama to extend the deadline for removing support troops from Afghanistan. . . .
 
3/27/2015 Senate 'Vote-A-Rama' Passes Amendments for Equal Pay, Pregnant Workers, Paid Leave, Benefits for Same-Sex Couples - A bipartisan majority of Senators this week voted in favor of budget amendments that show growing momentum for paid sick leave for employees, social security and veterans benefits for same-sex couples, equal pay, and fair treatment for pregnant workers. The votes, though significant, are symbolic. . . .
 
3/25/2015 Afghan Woman Beaten to Death for Burning Koran - A 27-year-old woman ‎who reportedly burned a copy of the Koran inside of a riverside shrine in Kabul, Afghanistan was brutally beaten and burned alive on Thursday. Shocking videos quickly spread on social media showing crowds of men surrounded by hundreds of onlookers assaulting the 27-year-old Farkhunda with bricks and sticks and repeatedly kicking her. . . .