Feds: Sex abuse high at 13 juvenile centers

By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer Modified: December 2, 2010 at 5:20 pm •  Published: January 7, 2010
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WASHINGTON (AP) — A government study issued Thursday finds 13 juvenile detention facilities around the country have high rates of sex abuse and victimization, where nearly 1 out of every 3 inmates reported some type of victimization.

A Justice Department study has found that nationwide, about 12 percent of youths held in state-run, privately-run, or local facilities reported some type of sexual victimization — but those rates varied widely from place to place.

Six sites had reported victimization rates of 30 percent or higher.

The figures are based on surveys of youths in custody.

About 10 percent reported incidents involved facility staff people, and nearly all of those complaints were against female staffers. About 2 percent of the reported incidents involving abuse perpetrated against young inmates by other youths.

Approximately 26,550 juveniles are held in such facilities around the country, and the survey — conducted for the government by Westat, a company based on Rockville, Md. — collected information from about 9,000 of them.

The study identified six facilities where the survey found at least 3 out of every 10 inmates said they were sexually victimized while in custody: Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility in Indiana; Corsicana Residential Treatment Center in Texas; Backbone Mountain Youth Center in Swanton, Md.; Samarkand Youth Development Center in Eagle Springs, N.C.; Cresson Secure Treatment Unit in Pennsylvania; and the Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center, Long Term, in Mitchells, Va.