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DOJ Report: Juvenile Inmates Victims of Sexual Abuse

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By Kamika Dunlap on January 20, 2010 11:45 AM

Recent findings from a major DOJ report show that many juvenile inmates were victims of sexual abuse.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the federal report by the Justice Department revealed that three in 25 juveniles in detention centers are sexually abused. In addition, 13 detention centers around the country were "high rate of sexual misconduct" -- at least 20 percent of young inmates said they were raped.

The DOJ report is the first of its kind and highlights a systematic problem. It also brings attention to the need for more training and accountability for staff members. The department's Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention are seeking funding for a National Training and Technical Assistance Center to improve conditions and treatment services for detained youths.

Reacting to the report, some advocates say that the Obama administration is moving too slowly on reforms that would reduce rape in U.S. prisons.

Attorney General Eric Holder appointed a working group under the Prison Rape Elimination Act to review standards proposed by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission and draft national standards for detecting and preventing prison rape, according to a statement.

Because the survey collected allegations from anonymous juvenile inmates with no follow-up investigation or substantiation through review, "some allegations ... may be untrue," the report said.

The DOJ report was based on surveys from 195 facilities in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Overall, 91% of youths in the facilities were male, according to the study. More than 26,550 adjudicated youths are held in centers nationwide.

The Review Panel on Prison Rape -- part of the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs -- will hold hearings on the report as part of a broader effort to reduce prison rape, according to a statement.

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