When Youth Can’t Say ‘No’-Raping Kids Behind Bars

Sexual Abuse


 The 13 worst places to be locked up as a kid.
The numbers are mind-blowing. Where does one begin? There are more than 26,550 adjudicated youths are held in centers nationwide, and one in three are raped yearly in many jails across the nation. Prison populations are rising; it is a given fact, adult or juvenile. More children are tried as adults in the court system in recent years. The public expects harsher penal results when parents fail their children as role models and deterrents from breaking the law. But, what Joe Q. Public falls short of realizing is that there are severe consequences to placing children with adults while serving their respective prison sentences. Even if the 10 year old caught spray-painting the locker room is housed with other juveniles, the other kids may be much older and thus more wise and spry with committing crime. The younger criminal may experience a wealth of learning about crime once behind bars.

Most children in custody are male, 9 out of 10. Almost 3,000 youths last year reported being sexually abused in one way or another. A vast majority of these rapes occurred between the dominating populations of male inmates and their female staff (80%). Children who had been sexually violated before were much more likely to be abused again.

It was noted that the 3 out of 25 incarcerated children that were sexually abused last year (nationally) were molested between 6 pm and midnight. Most of these cases happened in state facilities, and those in Texas and Virginia dominated the cases nationally.
Your child could just as easily be found guilty of truancy, among the best of parents. Next thing you know, your sweet Johnny or Jane spends 30 days in lock-up. On the day you bring a fresh batch of Under-roos, you discover to your horror that your child has lost his innocence. Will your precious baby ever be the same again? Will this child seek revenge for the hateful act avenged upon him/her? How much more likely will this child have psychological and physical scars and damage that last through their lifetime? I deal with these very offenders every day. I see those crusty stains of hate dug deep in the delicate formative years!

As heinous as it may be to have children render their victims helpless and take advantage of them in a criminal point of reference, no one deserves to be violated, especially sexually. Such abuse often leaves lifelong psychological scars that compound the difficulty of reintegration into society. And the abuse meted out by staff and inmate perpetrators alike undermines the order necessary in a correctional facility. Long term, it can create a monster that will likely re-offend over and over, perpetuating their life-cycle in the prison system. Rehabilitation has long since proven itself a better methodology when stamping out "smaller fires" such as those with juvenile crimes. Youths have a much more moldable mind when it comes to cognitive restructuring and behavioral modification than their adult counterparts.

The Justice Department Study discovered the following:
  • 10.8% of males and 4.7% of females reported sexual activity with facility staff.
  • 9.1% of females and 2.0% of males reported unwanted sexual activity with other youth.
  • Youth with a sexual orientation other than heterosexual reported significantly higher rates of sexual victimization by another youth (12.5%) compared to heterosexual youth (1.3%).
  • Youth who had experienced any prior sexual assault were more than twice as likely to report sexual victimization in the current facility (24.1%), compared to those with no sexual assault history (10.1%).

It is truly revolting and should sicken anyone who reads this becauseif a minor were to be abused, especially sexually abused, the full extent of the law would be handed down to the perpetrator. Why, there would be people all across the nation crying foul, attacking the alleged suspect before he/she ever had their day in court, and the suspect would eventually have to move before the trial began because of death threats. Age-of-consent laws and the moral fabric of society, which is frayed at this point, would enact that, fueling riots and violence against this monster. However, on the inside, where control over their bodies is legally out of their hands, young criminals cannot plausibly say "no" -- their status not only as delinquents but as victimsof previous sexual assaults makes them unreliable witnesses, giving cover to their abusers. It's hard to believe a convict, true, I have been trained to have that ideology. In contrast, one must give credence to these anonymous surveys amongst the weaker side of the law.

Let me remind you that these children are 13 to 21 years of age. In Texas, you can be held criminally liable for your actions at the tender age of 10. It should be no surprise that youth are becoming more and more violent. According to the Justice Department, more than 60% of children surveyed were exposed to violence within the past year. Nearly half of all children surveyed were assaulted at least once in the past year, and about 6% were victimized sexually.

Other findings from this same survey of 4,549 children under the age of 17 unearthed:
  • Nearly one in ten children said they saw one family member assault another in the past year.
  • More than one-half of the children, about 57%, reported having been assaulted at some point in their life.
  • Over 13% reported having been physically bullied in the last year.

Congress passed a law six years ago to reduce prison rapes, establishing a commission for developing state and federal guidelines. Though the commission released the guidelines June 2009, resolution is still pending. Ironically, Obama made an official statement that same month rebuking Iranian protesters, stating that ‘we call on the Iranian government to stop all violent and unjust actions against its own people...' Okay, so we have a lot to work on, but things are out of control here in our backyard, and I don't see it getting any better.

Hardly any staff at prisons, youth or adult, receive punishment for violating inmates.

There is a wealth of information about children being raped in prison on the Internet. I encourage you to follow the insightful links I have posted here to educate yourself about a growing plague sweeping across our nation. We need better hiring practices for prison/jail staff. A high-school diploma should not be enough. Perhaps a blinding spotlight on those who take advantage of our children, inside or outside of the barbed wire, can lessen this epidemic!
Advocates for Abandoned Adolescents - Our Mission is to do better!

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