Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011–12, U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2014

Research and Journal Articles

These tables and data, published by the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), are based on sexual victimization surveys of self-identified transgender respondents in federal prisons and jails. BJS estimated there were 3,209 transgender prison inmates nationwide. Nationally, 39.9% of transgender prison inmates in the voluntary, anonymous prisoner surveys reported sexual victimization within the preceding 12 months or since being incarcerated if they had been in prison less than a year. 33.2% of the transgender inmates reported victimization by another inmate, and 15.2% reported staff sexual misconduct.

BJS also estimated there were 1,709 transgender jail inmates nationwide in 2011 - 2012. Of these, 26.8% of transgender jail inmates reported sexual victimization, including 15.8% reporting victimization by another inmate, and 18.3% reporting staff sexual misconduct. BJS reported this data for its 2007, 2008-9, and 2011-12 surveys and calculated averages across the three survey years.

A second BJS report, based on a 2008 survey of former state prisoners out on parole, focuses on sexual abuse during incarceration. However, it did not contain specific information about the rates of abuse reported by transgender respondents. This 2008 survey showed that 9.6% of responding parolees had experienced sexual abuse during their most recent period of incarceration, more than twice as many as the 4% of survey respondents who had experienced sexual abuse in a prison in the previous 12 months.

If that difference in the rates of abuse holds true for transgender prisoners, the numbers are very close to those found by Lori Sexton, Valerie Jenness, and Jennifer Sumner in their 2009 study of transgender prisoners in the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Where the Margins Meet: a Demographic Assessment of Transgender Inmates in Men’s Prisons.

Analysis by Harper Jean Tobin, Esq., Director of Policy, National Center for Transgender Equality and Chris Daley, Deputy Executive Director, Just Detention International.