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April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month

Posted in 2015, Across the Country Wednesday, 01 April 2015

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Today marks the beginning of Sexual Assault Awareness Month, geared towards raising awareness of sexual violence and prevention to public health, human rights, and social justice that exists across demographic groups: sexual violence happens to people of all ages, races, genders, sexual orientations, religions, abilities, professions, incomes, and ethnicities. From college campuses to jails and prisons, sexual violence impacts individuals and communities alike.  
 
Prisons and jails across the United States house youth under 18 with adults every single day. The most recent data from the Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics  reports that nearly 4500 youth are held in jails and nearly 2000 in prisons on any given day. According to the new data, Florida houses over 200 youth each day in adult prison, Louisiana and New York, 178 and 182 respectively, Connecticut 143, North Carolina 115, and Michigan and Texas, 106 and 104. Georgia houses nearly 100.
 
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), Youthful Inmate Standard (YIS), was created to protect these youth from the dangers of living in prisons and jails. It is our belief that these young people should be completely removed from these facilities and given access to developmentally appropriate rehabilitative services in the juvenile justice system. While we suspect many states will not certify full compliance, our goal is to keep shining a light on the prevalence of sexual abuse of youth in adult jails and prisons, and to continue to call on the full removal of youth in adult facilities.
 
In 2011, correctional administrators correctional administrators reported 8,763 allegations of sexual victimization in prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities, and according to the 2012 National Survey of Youth in Custody, An estimated 9.5% of adjudicated youth in state juvenile facilities and state contract facilities (representing 1,720 youth nationwide) reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another youth or staff in the past 12 months or since admission, if less than 12 months.
 
During the month of April, please take the time help us raise awareness about sexual victimization of youth in adult jails and prisons.