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Texas Convicts and Juveniles Routinely Endure Rape, Abuse in Prison

Now, more than ever, it is important for Texans to aggressively fight criminal charges so they may protect not only their freedom, but their bodies.

While it is no secret that rape often occurs in prison, most people probably don't know how often it happens or why it happens so much. Adult prisons are not the only facilities where rape exists. Rape is also rampant in juvenile facilities, making them just as horrible an environment as the adult prisons, while being even more traumatic for a young person. Texas seems to have the highest rates of inmate rape in both adult and juvenile facilities across the nation, so putting a person, especially a juvenile, behind bars should be taken seriously.

According to a report released in January by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), three of the prisons with the most reported cases of sexual abuse by inmates from 2008 to 2009, based on a national survey, are run by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. These included the Hughes facility in Gatesville, the Allred Unit near Wichita Falls, and the Michael facility near Palestine. All three prisons had rape and sexual victimization rates that were more than three times the national average, which is just over two percent and amounts to about 88,000 inmates in the U.S.

Based on the same BJS report released earlier this year, young prisoners fared far worse. Tragically, around 12 percent of juveniles in both state and large non-state prisons reported being raped or the victims of other sexual crimes during their imprisonment. More than 26,000 youths were surveyed by the BJS, so this equates to just over 3,200 sexually abused juveniles. Some of the reports involved inmate-on-inmate incidents, but most included allegations of abuse by facility staff, particularly females.

Two Texas juvenile correctional facilities had rates that ranked in the top 13 worst juvenile prisons for reporting sexual abuse. Around 32 percent of inmates at Corsicana Residential Treatment Center, and almost 25 percent of juveniles at Victory Field Correctional Academy, reported being sexually victimized during their stays.

One article about juvenile criminals pointed out that less than half are detained for committing violent offenses nationally. The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission found that 20 percent of young inmates were convicted of other types of juvenile crimes, like truancy, probation violations, disobeying curfews, or for running away.

Putting juveniles behind bars should be taken seriously, particularly when the implications are so horrifying. States, particularly Texas, need to reform their methods for detecting rape and sexual victimization, and punishing both inmates and prison staff for their abuse.

If you or your child has been charged with a crime, contact a local Texas criminal defense attorney right away. It is important to get expert legal advice immediately, so all options, especially those that may keep you or your juvenile out of prison, can be explored.

Source: The Dallas Morning News

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