Breaking the Code of Silence: Correction Officers' Handbook on Identifying and Addressing Sexual Misconduct

Staff sexual misconduct with incarcerated people is about more than sex. This behavior compromises your safety and security, the safety of the institution and inmate, resident, or detainee's safety. While you may never get involved in this unprofessional behavior which is illegal in all states — you should be aware of how staff sexual misconduct can affect you, your job, your family, incarcerated people and the community. Staff sexual misconduct is not a subject to read about and put aside. It needs to be an ongoing discussion involving partners from all correctional sectors. Staff sexual misconduct is a problem that involves facilities, offenders, administration and staff at all levels, as well as outside stakeholders such as law enforcement, the legislature and the community. It has legal and non-legal consequences as well as long-lasting emotional, economic, and mental and physical health effects for staff, inmates, agencies and the community.

This handbook aims to educate correctional professionals at all levels on:

  • Why correctional staff and administrators need to be concerned about staff sexual misconduct with offenders
  • How agency culture and the workplace environment influence staff sexual misconduct
  • The tools that will help identify and address staff sexual misconduct
  • The consequences of staff sexual misconduct with offenders
  • The investigative process that should follow an allegation of staff sexual misconduct
  • How correctional staff members can keep the workplace safe
Brenda V. Smith,
Jamie Yarussi
Community Confinement
Juvenile Facility
Lockup Facility
Prisons and Jails
Staff sexual misconduct
Identifying sexual assault