While women incarcerated in California state prisons have filed hundreds of complaints of sexual abuse by staff since 2014, thus far only four officers have been terminated for sexual misconduct and only four have been confirmed to have faced criminal charges for their behavior, Sam Levin reports for The Guardian. Of those who were prosecuted, one case was dismissed, one guard pleaded no contest but had the conviction wiped from his record after the case was sealed, and a third pleaded no contest and was sentenced to two days in jail.
The California department of corrections and rehabilitation says it has moved to terminate 17 guards in its women’s prisons for sexual misconduct since 2014. Survivors and their advocates say the system consistently fails victims. Sexual assault in prisons occurs in states across the US and is a growing crisis as the number of women behind bars has soared. A federal survey of incarcerated people conducted in 2011 and 2012 counted roughly 47,000 people who had been sexually abused by staff in the previous 12 months, about 2% of the incarcerated population.