Guards are accused in roughly half of all prison sex assaults, yet they almost never face charges for them, according to a grim new Justice Department survey of prison administrators. There were 8,000 sexual abuse reports logged between 2009 and 2011, the report says, an 11% increase from the previous two years, although that might just be a sign of better reporting. Roughly 90% of those are dismissed as "unfounded" or "unsubstantiated," Pro Publica reports.
Even among the handful of officially substantiated cases, fewer than half of the accused guards were prosecuted, and only 1% were convicted. About a third were allowed to resign before the investigation finished, leaving no record that would prevent them from getting another job. Another 22% did not lose their job at all, the Washington Times reports. Perhaps that's why assaults appear to be grossly under-reported. A survey that polled inmates directly last year estimated that more than 80,000 had been assaulted over a two-year span. "It’s a big deal for an inmate to file a report, especially if it’s against staff," said one prison activist. "They have to have some sense that something will come out of it, and there’ll be no retaliation."