Sexual Violence in Women’s Prisons Reaches “Constitutional Proportions.” Will Lawmakers Step In?

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Incarcerated women are 30 times more likely to be raped than free women. Even though women account for less than 10% of inmates, their reports account for three quarters of assaults, and almost three-quarters of staff are men. (Officer Bimbleberry / Wikipedia Commons)

Last week, smack dab in the middle of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, the Department of Justice released a report about sexual violence in New Jersey’s women’s prison, the Edna Mahan Correctional Facility, that concluded that the risk of sexual harm was so high that it reached constitutional proportions and violated inmates’ Eighth Amendment rights against cruel and unusual punishment. 

The DOJ report tells stories of women who were forced into indignities such as being forced to perform oral sex or having to serve as the lookout for their assailant as they were being raped. 

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