This publication provides an overview of “criminal laws explicitly prohibiting staff sexual interactions with adults and youth under correctional supervision...and examines trends in their enactment and amendment” (p. 1). Eight chapters are contained: an introduction to staff sexual misconduct—definitions; state criminal laws coverage of agencies and personnel; state criminal laws—prohibited contact; state criminal laws—defenses to staff sexual misconduct; state criminal laws—criminal penalties; optimal elements of law—criminalizing staff sexual misconduct with offenders; other sanctions and consequences; and conclusion.
Research has shown that many of the youth incarcerated with the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) were physically abused by employees, and the rate of such occurrences has drastically increased in recent years. Turnover rates and inadequate training of employees at TYC are major contributors to the increasing abuse. Recruiting and retaining staff have been major challenges for TYC. The lack of a criminal investigation division within TYC is another contributor to the increasing rate of violence, both to youth and staff. Lowering the ratio of youth to staff, increasing the amount of training for employees, and providing independent investigations of alleged crimes could reduce the rate of abuse and violence occurring at TYC facilities.
As proposed, S.B. 103 requires the TYC to provide 300 hours of training to guards before they begin their duties at facilities, and to maintain a ratio at least one guard for every 12 youth committed to the facility. S.B. 103 requires TYC to establish an Office of the Inspector General for the purpose of investigating criminal acts among TYC youth, guards, and other TYC employees, and reporting the results of any investigation to the TYC Board. S.B. 103 prohibits TYC from assigning a child younger than 15 years old to the same dormitory as a youth at least 17 years of age. S.B. 103 requires the Texas Rangers to make monthly unannounced visit to facilities and to submit reports to the Texas Sunset Commission for inclusion in TYC’s Sunset review evaluation.
This report examines the prevalence of the sexual abuse of inmates by correctional staff and also analyzes the laws that exist to deter this type of abuse. The Office of the Inspector General reviewed reports of such abuse in federal prison, examined the current statutes in place and deficiencies that exists in those statutes, compared state and local laws on staff abuse of inmates to federal laws, and gives recommendations for changes in the current law.