A 20-year-old man was charged with sexually assaulting another inmate at the Meriwether County jail — once again bringing to the forefront a problem that human rights officials said plague prisons nationwide.
According to the most recent report released by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), “Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons Reported by Inmates, 2007,” 4.5 percent of the state and federal prisoners surveyed reported sexual victimization in the past 12 months. With a national prison population of 1,570,861, the BJS findings suggest that in one year alone more than 70,000 prisoners were sexually abused.
In the Meriwether County incident, Mr. Amier S. Steed, who was being held at the jail for violating probation, was charged with two counts of aggravated sodomy, the sheriff’s office said Wednesday.
The alleged attack was purported to have occurred on around 11 p.m. Saturday while the two were in their night lock down cell, Sheriff Chuck Smith said. But the victim didn’t report it until around 5 p.m. Sunday, the sheriff said.
It’s unclear if there were any other witnesses to the alleged incident. But officials said they conducted interviews and gathered evidence that helped lead to Mr. Steed’s charges on Tuesday.
He remained in jail Thursday without bond, the sheriff said.
In its 2001 landmark report, “No Escape: Male Rape in US Prisons,” Human Rights Watch documented vicious and brutally violent male rapes in prison as well as other more common, less overtly violent forms of coerced sex.
It showed that certain prisoners were more vulnerable to rape and to being targeted for sexual exploitation – especially prisoners who are young, physically small or weak, gay, first offenders, or have been convicted of a sexual offense against a minor.
Inmate victims of rape have told Human Rights Watch of sexual assaults that ended in concussions, broken bones, deep wounds, and other serious injuries. A small number of inmates have been killed during sexually-motivated attacks, according to the report.
“At night the guards locked themselves in a cage and slept while inmates sexually and physically assaulted others,” one victim stated in the report.
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