Female Ex-prisoners Allege Pervasive Sexual Assault By Staff

A Senate investigation released Tuesday found widespread sexual abuse of female detainees in federal prisons, despite staff accountability mechanisms.

The bipartisan Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations determined that prison employees harmed women in at least 19 of 29 federal prisons that hosted female convicts since 2012. From 2012 to 2022, the Bureau of Prisons opened 5,415 federal employee sexual abuse cases.

On Tuesday, former inmate and survivor Brian Moore told the subcommittee how a West Virginia federal prison guard raped her. She stated the prison commander would assault her in secret spots away from cameras.

“I knew he might prevent me from being transferred to a prison closer to my family and daughter,” Moore claimed. “He commanded me. I have to comply.”

She dreaded solitary confinement if she reported the officer and knew of previous women who were punished for reporting assault.

Female Ex-prisoners Allege Pervasive Sexual Assault By Staff

source: theguardian.

The investigation revealed that sluggish inmate sexual abuse accountability and minimal internal investigator resources put inmates at risk. About 8,000 cases are pending in the Bureau of Prisons Office of Internal Affairs, some for over five years.

Georgia Democrat Jon Ossoff heads the Senate Homeland Security Committee’s prison abuse and misbehavior investigating panel.

“”Sexual assault of detainees is a terrible breach of human and constitutional rights and cannot be condoned by the United States Congress,” Ossoff said during Tuesday’s session. The Eighth Amendment and human dignity prohibit it as cruel and unusual punishment.”

At the hearing, Ossoff asked Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Colette Peters, appointed in July, why the bureau hasn’t implemented systemic adjustments to avoid abuse given the magnitude of reported and confirmed complaints.

“I wish I could answer it,” Peters replied. “When you look at the institutions that you’re highlighting—and you see an institution that has been captivated with cases—impossible it’s to explain—hard it’s to fathom how systemic reforms were not enacted.”

Since her appointment, Peters has inspected facilities and transitioned Bureau of Prisons leadership. She called prison leader abuse “extremely horrific” and noted that detainees cannot consent to sex with law enforcement due to power inequalities.

Peters welcomed this hearing and accountability and monitoring. “We must embrace this work.”

If Congress funds it, Peters will improve internal surveillance and introduce body cameras.
Ossoff chaired a Senate panel that exposed federal penitentiary wrongdoing in Georgia earlier this year. He claimed jail officials allowed enormous contraband into the premises.

On Tuesday, Peters stated, “Contraband is the beginning of sexual assault.” Cell phones are regularly used to arrange jail offences and pose a serious security risk.

Moore apologised for her drug conviction in her opening testimony. After having a daughter at 17, she sold crack cocaine to make money.

Moore informed the panel that he was not an activist. “Publicly discussing my experience is difficult. I’m willing because some women are still in prison and I’m out. I hope they’ll avoid my experience.”

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