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All prisoners have the right to remain free of sexual assault while serving time.
By Jessica pride
Published on
May 26, 2023
Last Updated
May 7, 2024

Sexual Abuse in California Prisons: Statistics and Facts

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Being imprisoned doesn’t mean being totally powerless. Your human rights deserve protection at all times and under all circumstances, including your right to be free of sexual assault. 

The following article contains potentially disturbing statistics and facts about prisoner sexual assault. Prisoners have the right to be free from cruel and unusual punishment, including sexual assault or abuse. Prisoner sexual assault is any act of sexual abuse or harassment committed against an individual who is incarcerated. It may involve acts committed by other inmates, prison staff, or both. 

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Current and former prisoners have the right to file a lawsuit for sexual assault. You are entitled to protection from mistreatment while in custody, and have the right to seek legal remedies for the harms you’ve suffered. Those remedies could involve compensation for medical treatment, inability or reduced ability to work, and support services following an assault.

At The Pride Law Firm, we have helped formerly incarcerated individuals pursue justice, and are ready to represent you too. If you were sexually assaulted or harassed while in jail or prison, contact Jessica Pride at (619) 516-8166 to explore your options. Taking legal action can help you heal, and help prevent such assaults from happening to others who are still behind prison walls.

Read on for statistics and facts related to prisoner sexual abuse, and how a personal injury attorney can help you take legal action.

Statistics on Sexual Assault in California Prisons

Obtaining accurate and up-to-date statistics on prison sexual assault in the United States can be challenging due to underreporting and variations in data collection methods. However, here are some recent statistics compiled by Western Washington University (WWU)

  • In one year there were over 24,000 allegations of sexual assault and harassment by inmates. Of those which were substantiated with additional evidence, 58% were perpetrated by inmates and 42% by prison staff.
  • Inmate-on-inmate assaults are 38% higher in private prisons than in public ones. Additionally, individuals are twice as likely to report sexual abuse from guards or staff in private vs. public prisons. 
  • While female inmates make up only 7% of the total prison population, women represent a disproportionate percentage of sexual assaults — 22% of all inmate-on-inmate sexual assaults, and 33% of all staff-on-inmate sexual victimizations.

It is important to note that sexual abuse in prisons is significantly underreported, and the actual rates may be higher than these figures. Fear of retaliation, shame, lack of trust, and concerns about the effectiveness of reporting systems contribute to underreporting.

Sexual Abuse in California Prison: Facts

Sexual assault and abuse in prison is a significant issue that affects the well-being and safety of incarcerated individuals. Here are some key facts regarding sexual abuse in prisons:

  • Prevalence across genders: Sexual abuse is a pervasive problem in correctional facilities, impacting both male and female prisoners. Gender disparities do exist, however. Studies have shown that male inmates are more likely to be victimized by other inmates, while female inmates are more likely to experience abuse at the hands of staff members.
  • Inmate-on-inmate abuse: The majority of reported incidents involve sexual abuse perpetrated by fellow inmates. Factors such as power dynamics, lack of supervision, and overcrowding can contribute to a heightened risk of sexual violence within the prison environment.
  • Staff-on-inmate abuse: While less common than inmate-on-inmate abuse, sexual misconduct by correctional staff members is a dangerous miscarriage of their duties. Such abuse involves a breach of trust and authority, as inmates rely on staff for their safety and well-being.

There is an increased risk of sexual assault and violence for certain vulnerable populations in prisons. Individuals who are young, physically or mentally disabled, LGBTQ+, or have a history of prior victimization may have greater exposure to sexual attacks. These individuals also face even more difficulty reporting these violations and securing justice. 

Contact our trauma-informed team for a free, confidential, respectful consultation about your circumstances and options going forward.

What Does a California Prison Sexual Assault Lawyer Do For Your Case?

The long-term consequences of sexual abuse in prison can have severe and far-reaching effects on survivors. Harms include psychological trauma, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and increased risk of self-harm or suicide. 

A lawsuit can help compensate you for these and other related damages like medical bills or reduced ability to work. Here is how a knowledgeable prison sexual assault attorney can help your case:

  • Investigation: Your lawyer can thoroughly investigate the incident, collect evidence, interview witnesses, and review relevant documentation. We’ll work to establish liability and determine the parties responsible for the assault.
  • Case preparation: The work to prepare your case for litigation can involve researching local laws, gathering medical records, documenting your injuries, calculating damages, and building a strong argument to support your claim for compensation.
  • Negotiations: In many personal injury cases, including prison sexual assault cases, settlements can be reached through negotiations with the responsible party's insurance company or legal representation. Your lawyer will handle these negotiations on your behalf, striving to secure a fair settlement that covers your medical expenses, pain and suffering, lost wages, and other damages.
  • Court representation: If a settlement cannot be reached, your lawyer will represent you in court. We will make your case before a judge or jury, and argue on the basis of the evidence we’ve compiled to support your claim for compensation.
  • Emotional support: Going through a prison sexual assault case can be emotionally challenging. Jessica Pride and the team at The Pride Law Firm can provide critical interpersonal support and guidance throughout the process. We can also direct you to proven resources for survivors and recommended self-care practices you can embrace.

It's important to consult with a personal injury lawyer who has experience in handling assault cases to ensure that you receive the appropriate legal representation and maximize your chances of obtaining a favorable outcome.

Contact Experienced California Prison Sexual Assault Lawyers

Serving time is not a sentence that includes sexual assault. For those in prison or under immigration detainment, it is crucial to report the incident to authorities immediately. Seek medical attention, preserve any evidence, and contact a lawyer with experience in prisoner sexual assault cases for specific advice and to discuss your legal options.

You may be able to sue the prison if they failed to protect you from sexual assault, whether from a staff member or fellow inmate. Prisons have a duty to provide a safe environment for inmates and take reasonable steps to prevent sexual assaults. If they were negligent in fulfilling this duty, you may have a claim against them.

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Why Hire Jessica Pride

Jessica Pride and the team at The Pride Law Firm are here to help you navigate the legal system while offering empathy and understanding. We can investigate the incident, gather evidence, guide you through legal procedures, negotiate with the prison or responsible parties, and represent you in court if necessary. 

Contact us at (619) 516-8166 right away for legal advice — there is a time limit for filing a prisoner sexual assault lawsuit that can be relatively short depending on your location. It is important to consult with an attorney promptly to ensure you don’t miss your opportunity for justice.

Related Resources

If you found this California prison sexual assault content helpful, please view the related topics below: 

Contact us if you have specific questions on the matter or if you’d like to schedule a free consultation. 

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