"Allegations of sexual victimization rose sharply after the national standards’ 2012 release, then stabilized from 2016 to 2018, changing less than 7% annually during this 3-year period.3 About 6% of allegations during this period were substantiated, and 51% were unsubstantiated. From 2010 to 2018, most allegations of sexual victimization were found to be unsubstantiated after investigation (figure 2). The exception was in 2014, when most allegations were determined to be unfounded. The number of unfounded allegations reached a high of 11,169 in 2016, decreased to 10,084 in 2017, then increased to 10,869 in 2018.

"In 2018, 18,884 allegations of sexual victimization were reported by prisons (68%) and 8,651 were reported by jails (31%) (table 1). By comparison, in 2015 about 76% of sexual victimization allegations were reported by prisons and 24% were reported by jails. Allegations reported by state prison systems declined 4% from 2016 to 2018, from a high of 17,080 to 16,448. In jails, allegations increased each year from 2015 to 2018, going from 5,809 to 8,651 allegations.

"The overall rate of allegations in prisons increased 8%, from 12.5 per 1,000 inmates in 2015 to 13.5 per 1,000 in 2018 (table 2). The rate reported by jails rose 48% during the same period. Military facilities have had the highest rate since 2013, which peaked at 32.7 allegations per 1,000 inmates in 2018. State prisons had the second-highest rate in 2018 at 14.9 per 1,000.

"The number of allegations of all types of sexual victimization decreased from 2016 to 2017, after consistently rising after the implementation of the 2012 national standards (figure 3). Allegations of inmate-on-inmate nonconsensual sexual acts and abusive sexual contact as well as allegations of staff sexual misconduct then rose again from 2017 to 2018, while allegations of staff sexual harassment continued to decline from 6,943 in 2016 to 6,449 in 2018."


Emily D. Buehler, PhD, Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities - 2016-2018," US Dept. of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 255356, June 2021.