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Chat Archives

   Sexual Victimization in Prisons: Moving Toward Elimination
February 7, 2008

February 7, 2008

~This was an online event.~

This discussion was moderated by A.T. Wall, Director of the Department of Corrections for the State of Rhode Island. The panel (bios) included:

  • Barbara Owen (slides) - Professor of Criminology, California State University, Fresno
  • Brenda Smith (slides) - Professor of Law, American University; Commissioner, National Prison Rape Elimination Commission
  • Allen Beck (slides) - Deputy Director of the Bureau of Justice Statistics

Recording - Listen to the recording of this event.

Resources - Links to resources related to this event.

Polls - See the results of various audience polls (these numbers reflect informal polls of our audience, and are not intended for use as scientific data).

Post-event chat - After the event concluded, a small group of audience members convened in a text-based chat room to continue the dialogue.  View a transcript of the discussion.

*     *     *

According to a report released in December of 2007 by the Bureau of Justice Statistics, an estimated 60,500 state and federal prisoners reported one or more incidents of sexual victimization within the year.  Nationwide, 2.1 percent of inmates reported an incident involving another inmate, and 2.9 percent reported an incident involving facility staff members.

The results come from research mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which establishes a zero-tolerance standard for the incidence of rape in U.S. prisons.

Previously only a few, small research studies investigated sexual violence in correctional institutions. Further, as the rate of women's imprisonment has increased over the past 20 years, so has the interest in women's prison research - the studies conducted highlight a culture of sex and adverse effects of victimization that are unique to female correctional settings, and must be considered.

This expert chat, sponsored by the Harvard Kennedy School's Government Innovators Network and the National Institute of Justice, featured a panel of experts who discussed the state of PREA research - what data is available and what's yet to come - and examined how we will move from better understanding to reliable prevention and eventual elimination. Ample time was allocated for audience Q&A.

Questions? Contact us.


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