Sex Abuse In New York's Prisons A Big Problem, City Limits Says

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Four of the top 11 prisons where inmates claim sexual abuse by staff are in New York state, a national survey found, according to the well-regarded journal City Limits in an article published yesterday.

And get this: the place with the most complaints happens to be on West 20rd Street in Manhattan--the Bayview Correctional Facility for woman, the article's author Kelly Virella says. More than 11 percent of inmates there reported sexual abuse allegations, compared to the national average of 2.2 percent. An astonishing 57 percent of inmates at Bayview claimed they had either been forced into sex or threatened with force.

City Limits Editor Jarrett Murphy tells us that even though the sex is often consensual, it is still illegal. But state prison officials doesn't always take the allegations seriously. In fact, the state is opposing on budget grounds new federal regulations that would reduce prison rape.

The state has claimed such incidents are fairly rare, but the City Limits article disputes that claim. Moreover, the article reports that state prison officials never forward many inmate complaints to the independent Inspector General responsible for investigating prison misconduct. And the system often takes it easy on staff found to have had sex with prisoners.

Virella tells the story of one female inmate at Albion Correctional Facility, who suffered two attempted rapes by the same guard in 2007. A federal judge ordered the guard to pay her $500,000. The guard pled guilty to third-degree rape.

Fifteen New York women are suing the state over its handling of sex abuse cases. The eight year old lawsuit is still pending.


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