Juvenile inmates report being sexually abused

By Evrod Cassimy – bio | email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) - Behind the barbed wire at one local juvenile correctional facility lies a dark secret. Inmates report being sexually abused by other juveniles and even correctional officers. The numbers shocked Bruce Twyman with the Virginia Department of Juvenile Justice.

"We were surprised that Virginia's numbers would be that high," said Twyman. "Again it's something that we don't like to see in our facility and we're certainly doing everything we can to get rid of it."

The federal study found Culpeper and Bon Air Correctional Centers in Virginia to be 2 of 13 juvenile detention centers across the country that have high rates of sex abuse and victimization.

At the Culpeper Juvenile Correctional Center 3 out of 10 inmates reported being sexually abused. At the Bon Air Correctional Center 1 out of 4 inmates reported victimization.

"These facilities are not as well run as they should be," said Kent Willis with the ACLU. "The people are not as well trained who run them. And they're not monitored the way they should be."

Before the findings, Twyman insists that reports of sexual abuse were always investigated. In the past year they have increased training staff and upgraded video surveillance to combat sexual abuse. One thing to take into consideration when looking at these numbers is that participating in the survey was voluntary. Out of the 173 inmates at Bon Air only 40 participated. 10 of those, said yes to sexual misconduct.

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