Sexual Misconduct

Topics: Prison, Corrections, Criminal justice Pages: 5 (935 words) Published: September 16, 2014

Sexual Misconduct Amongst Correction Officers and Inmates

Sexual Misconduct is misconduct of sexual nature that is used for sexual gratification, install fear, intimidation and or to gain power or dominance. In many workplaces, sexual misconduct is something that is heavily frowned upon. Whether it is in an office environment or a school, it is very inappropriate. Nowhere is it more inappropriate than in the correctional system. In the United States, there have been inmates who have reported experiencing some kind of sexual victimization at the hands of correctional staff. Before being selected for hire to work for the Department of Corrections, all candidates undergo a hiring process of approximately ten steps. Three of the most important steps, during the hiring process, are Pre-Investigatory Interview, a Background Investigation, and a Written Peace Officer Psychological Evaluation (POPE). The purpose is to investigate the characteristics of a candidate is to establish any liabilities to the Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

In 2002, Susan McCampbell and Larry Fischer created a policy development guide that deals with staff sexual misconduct with inmates. According to the guide, “Sexual misconduct is illegal in 47 out of 50 states, it compromises facility security and creates work environments that are negative for both staff and inmates” (McCampbell & Fischer, 2002). It can also be either a random incident or a sign that the jail’s management and operational systems are falling apart. Inmates are not able to consent to sex much just like how those with mental disabilities and juveniles are deemed incapable of consenting to sex. In other words, even if the inmate is willing to engage in sexual activities with the staff, any kind of sexual contact is legally nonconsensual. When undergoing training, corrections officers are asked to list the possible behaviors that could have helped them identify sexual misconduct. Some behaviors include: Over-identifying with the inmate, horse-play, favoritism, isolated posts, or staff sharing with inmates (McCampbell & Fischer, 2002). This is to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the jail or prison.

Sexual misconduct between corrections staff and male inmates, while not as high as inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization, occurs more often than misconduct involving female inmates. In the Department of Justice’s national inmate survey of 2012, “Twelve prisons were identified as high-rate facilities based on reports of staff sexual misconduct…Twelve jails were also identified as high-rate facilities” (Beck, Berzofsky, Caspar, & Krebs, 2013). There are 31,110 male inmates in prison who responded to the sexual victimization survey and many of them, are housed in the twelve prisons mentioned by the national inmate survey.

The prevalence of sexual misconduct among corrections staff and female inmates is significantly less than misconduct between corrections staff and male inmates. In 2013, the U.S. Department of Justice released statistics on the sexual victimization of inmates in prisons and jails. According to these statistics, a total of about 3.7% of the female inmates who report sexual victimization say that they are victims of the correctional staff (Beck, Berzofsky, Caspar, & Krebs, 2013). There are a few women’s prisons where sexual misconduct is more prevalent which include the Denver Women’s Correctional Facility, the Broward Correctional Institute, and the Julia Tutwiler Prison. However, according to the statistics, there are a total of 7,141 female facilities, but only around 860 inmates actually responded to a sexual victimization survey (Beck, Berzofsky, Caspar, & Krebs, 2013). Correction’s staff engages in sexual misconduct mostly with inmates between the ages of 18 and 19 while inmates 55 and older are mostly left alone. Different ethnicities also play a role in the prevalence of sexual misconduct. Research...
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