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New DOJ Report Reveals Sexual Assaults and Rapes of Inmates Is Widespread With Texas Prisons Among the Highest Reported

The Department of Justice has released a new report which reveals that lots of people are getting raped and sexually assaulted in jails and prisons: assaults on inmates are a real problem in Texas and the United States.

Read the report, “Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011–12” here.

Crimes Behind Bars: Inmates Are Victims of Crime in Texas

The cruel reality of this latest statistical study is that people who have lost their freedom for extended periods of time here in Texas are now faced with being victims of sexual assault and rape, and sometimes the perpetrators of those sex crimes are the very people who are supposed to be protecting inmates from being harmed:  all too often, guards are the ones who are being charged with sexual assault and rape of inmates in Texas facilities.

In particular, the DOJ reports shows that there are “high rates of staff sexual misconduct” in two Texas prisons, with the Clements Unit and the Coffield Unit both making the Top in USA List of High Rate of Staff Sexual Misconduct (Table 4 on page 13 of the report).

In fact, the report’s survey results reveal that more male inmates at the Clements Unit have been forced, coerced or pressured into sexual contact with prison staff than any other male prison in the United States.

Harris County Jail

Harris County Jail

Inmates Being Sexually Assaulted by Guards Isn’t News to Texas

The new DOJ report isn’t shocking revelation to criminal justice professionals.  The fact that jail and prison guards take advantage of their power and position to assault inmates is a sad reality all over the Lone Star State.

Criminal defense attorneys, for example, are well aware of past exposes like the 2011 investigation into Houston’s Harris County Jail which lead to many Jail employees being terminated from employment after it was discovered that jail guards were taking female inmates to the laundry room for sexual encounters.  (We posted about this earlier; go here for details.)

Additionally, another federal lawsuit has been filed in Corpus Christi by female inmates over allegations of sexual abuse at the Live Oak County jail down in South Texas.  Two lawsuits are now on the books, all filed by women who seek civil damages for sexual assault by prison guards at the state facility.  In the new lawsuit, the female inmates describe the jail in their pleadings as a “rape camp.” 

Sexual Assault and Rape Charges can be filed by Inmates — Behind Bars Doesn’t Mean Legal Rights Are Taken With Freedom

It is a crime in the State of Texas for anyone to sexually assault or rape another person.  This includes individuals who have been convicted of a crime and are serving their sentence in a Texas jail or prison facility.

The DOJ Report reveals that it is a widespread injustice in this country that individuals who are behind bars are all too often being abused by jailers and prison guards and that this is a big problem here in the State of Texas.

We should expect more lawsuits like the ones filed by female inmates for the “rape camp” allegations in South Texas to be filed in other parts of the state for sexual assaults that have occurred in other Texas prisons and Texas jails.   Individuals who are arrested, charged, and convicted and thereafter pay their debt to society by having their freedom taken from them and their lives spent in cells for months or years at a time still have legal rights and a right to justice.

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