Colorado Prisons Must Stop Sexually Victimizing Inmates by Staff

Target: Roger Werholz, interim Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Corrections

Goal: Provide a safe place for inmates who have been sexually abused by staff members and other inmates.

The Denver Women’s Correctional Facility has the highest rate reported staff sex assaults. Approximately 10.7 percent of the inmate population at the facility have claimed to be sexually assaulted by staff members, or were guilty of sexual misconduct against other inmates. The national rate of inmates claiming sexual abuse by staff  is 2.4 percent. Many prisoners have kept quiet, due to staff accusing them of making a false report.

The Denver County Jail also has a high rate of inmates claiming to be sexually abused by staff. Sixty nine percent of the inmate population responded to a survey done by the US Department of Justice, and out of all them 3.7 percent claimed they were sexually assaulted.

Fortunately, changes in security at the correctional facility have been made, but there is more to be done. While prisons are there to hold dangerous individuals, it should also be a place for inmates to turn their lives around. There is no excuse for prisoners to endure torture while serving time, from other inmates or those in charge. It’s a wake up call for Colorado prisons and jails to investigate, and to provide a safe place for those who have been victimized, as well as punish those responsible.


Dear Roger Werholz,

I commend you for taking immediate action after a report shed much needed light on the rate of inmate and staff sexual abuse in Denver jails. There is no excuse for inmates to suffer while serving their time, and trying to turn their lives around. However, there is much more to be done.

Whether abused by staff or other inmates, there needs to be a safe place for the inmates who have been claimed to be victimized. Inmates who attempted to break the silence were punished, sometimes severely, which pressures others to stay silent. Creating a safer environment for the victims allows others to feel comfortable coming forward, and will put a much needed end to the abuse in prisons.


[Your Name Here]

photo credit: publik16 via flickr

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