405-778-4800
Criminal Attorney Oklahoma Defense Lawyer Adam R. Banner OKLAHOMA ATTORNEY AT LAW
This Attorney is Lead Counsel Rated. Click here for more Information.

Oklahoma Women's Prison Ranks High in Prison Rape

17-Jan-2014

While the Oklahoma legislature does not seem to think there is a problem brewing in Oklahoma's prisons, statistics keep pouring in that show otherwise. The state is known to carry some of the longest sentences and mandatory minimums for nonviolent, low-risk offenses--particularly drug crimes. The state also has some of the lowest paid corrections workers, which in turn leads to inadequate staffing. The  starting pay for corrections officers in Oklahoma is $11.83 per hour, $4 less per hour than the national average. Currently, Oklahoma prisons are staffed at only 60 percent. More inmates plus fewer guards is an equation for problems.

The attack of a female case worker at Joseph Harp Correctional emphasized the safety risks of overcrowded, understaffed prisons, yet a spokesman for Governor Mary Fallin says that she "is not concerned about the situation in the prisons."

Being called to testify at a federal Department of Justice hearing about prison rape should make the issue a little more concerning.

Earlier this month, the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Justice Programs conducted Hearings of the Review Panel on Prison Rape, based on the Bureau of Justice Statistics' reports on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011-12 and Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections was called to testify because one of the state's facilities, the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McCloud, was listed as the nation's only all-female prison classified with a "high rate of inmate-on-inmate sexual victimization," according to the National Inmate Survey 2011-2012, conducted as part of the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

According to the Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates report, "In 2011-12, an estimated 4.0 percent of state and federal prison inmates and 3.2 percent of jail inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization by another inmate or facility staff in the past 12 months or since admission to the facility, if less than 12 months." Two percent of respondents indicated sexual assault by another inmate, while 2.4 percent indicated sexual abuse by a prison staffer. The combined percentages are greater than 4 percent, because some respondents reported both types of victimization.

While the overall average of prison inmates who were sexually assaulted was at 4 percent, the incidents of sexual victimization was higher in female prison populations. Still, the percentage of inmates reporting sexual abuse by staff or other inmates at Mabel Bassett is extraordinarily high at 17.5 percent. At the facility, instances of sexual abuse or misconduct by corrections officers or employees is about average for a women's prison at 3.4 percent. However, the number of prisoners reporting inmate-on-inmate sexual assault is more than twice the national average for such abuse at women's correctional facilities. At Mabel Bassett, 15.3 percent of respondents indicate that they have been sexually victimized by a fellow inmate, compared with a national average of 7.2 percent for female inmates. For further comparison, only 9.8 percent of prisoners reported inmate-on-inmate sexual assault at the male facility with the highest rate of sexual victimization.

Although called to testify at the hearings, Department of Corrections officials refused to testify, citing pending litigation in which 11 women are suing the DOC for negligence which permitted three guards to sexually abuse them. Named as a defendant in the lawsuit is former Mabel Bassett warden Millicent Newton-Embry. Ironically, Newton-Embry currently serves as the Oklahoma Department of Corrections coordinator for the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

Despite all of this, the government doesn't see a problem with the state of affairs in Oklahoma prisons.



All News

More News

Ex-OHP Trooper Appears in Court for Rape Case
05-Feb-2016

Former Oklahoma Highway Patrol Trooper Eric William Roberts, 43, i..

Choctaw High School Teacher Arrested
01-Feb-2016

Police arrested a Choctaw High School teacher last Friday after he..

"Communication Failure" Set Eufaula Bank Robber Free
29-Jan-2016

In only a few seconds, a man walked into a Eufaula bank, shot and ..

OKC Police to Pilot Body Cameras
25-Jan-2016

In the wake of repeated news about cops behaving badly, many polic..

Domestic Violence: It Can Happen to Anyone
22-Jan-2016

Domestic violence is in the news again, with two high-profile fami..

Strapped Oklahoma DHS to Offer Buyouts
18-Jan-2016

A notorious state budget shortfall is crippling already financiall..

How do I get a dismissed charge off my record?
16-Jan-2016

Many people are surprised to find out that even if charges against..

Tulsa Man Gets Life Sentence in Second Sex Abuse Conviction
15-Jan-2016

A previously convicted sex offender has been sentenced to life wit..

Man Pleads Guilty in Ardmore Kidnapping
11-Jan-2016

On November 8, 2014, police in Ardmore received a call about a "po..

Peyton Manning and HGH: Nonstory or Cover up?
08-Jan-2016

It is interesting to note that while sports reporters spent months..

×