Characteristics of Inmates - Past Abuse And Family Background
jail abused reported table
The Bureau of Justice Statistics published a special report titled Prior Abuse Reported by Inmates and Probationers in 1999. The report was prepared from survey data collected from state and federal prisoners in 1997, inmates of local jails in 1996, and the 1995 Survey of Adults on Probation. The special report found that 18.7% of state prisoners, 9.5% of federal prisoners, 16.4% of jail inmates, and 15.7% of probationers had experienced abuse before being admitted to prison. The survey relied on the respondents' own definitions of physical and sexual abuse.
A more recent study of abuse among jail inmates is reported in Profile of Jail Inmates, 2002. According to Table 5.6, 18.2% of all jail inmates reported having been either physically or sexually abused. While 13.4% of male inmates reported prior abuse, well over half (55.3%) of female inmates had been abused. Of those men who reported abuse, 11.2% said they had been physically abused, while 4% said it was sexual abuse. For women, the percentages were much higher: 44.9% had been physically abused and 35.9% had been sexually abused. Overall more inmates reported in 2002 that the abuse had occurred before the age of eighteen; however, among female inmates in 2002, more reported abuse after age eighteen. More than 92% knew their abuser, and a parent or guardian had been the abuser in 47.9% of the cases overall.
The same study found that over 46% of jail inmates reported having a close relative who had also been in jail. Over 18% of jail inmates said their father had been incarcerated, 31.4% a brother, and 8.9% a sister. (See Table 5.7.) Nearly 20% of inmates reported that a parent or guardian had abused alcohol when they were growing
|Percent of all jail inmates|
|Ever physically or sexually abused||18.2%||16.4%||13.4%||12.9%||55.3%||47.5%|
|Before age 18||10.9||11.6||9.7||10.6||20.3||20.8|
|After age 18||4.9||2.0||2.3||1.0||25.2||10.9|
|Relationship to abuser||Percent of abused inmates|
|Did not know abuser||7.6%||13.4%||7.5%||12.1%||7.9%||17.9%|
|Note: Details adds to more than total because more than 1 person may have abused inmates; or some inmates were both physically and sexually abused.|
|*Includes (ex) spouse, (ex) boyfriend, and (ex) girlfriend.|
|Person(s) lived with most of the time while growing up:|
|Ever lived in a foster home, agency, or institution while growing up||11.5%||13.6%|
|Family member ever incarcerated|
|Parent or guardian ever abused alcohol or drugs while inmate was growing up|
|Both alcohol and drugs||8.6||6.9|
|*Details may not add to total because more than one response was possible.|
up. In addition, 2.1% reported that a parent or guardian had abused drugs, and 8.6% reported the use of both drugs and alcohol by a parent or guardian. Less than half of all inmates (43.6%) had been raised in a two-parent family.
|Percent of jail inmates|
|Ever under order||18.6%||24.3%||16.7%|
|Violation charge at admission||1.5||2.0||1.3|
|Percent of inmates ever under a restraining order|
|Person who sought order*|
|Note: Details add to more than total because more than one person may have sought restraining order.|
|*Includes (ex-) spouse, (ex-) boyfriend, and (ex-) girlfriend.|
Profile of Jail Inmates, 2002 also reported that 18.6% of jail inmates had been under a restraining order at some time. (See Table 5.8.) A restraining order is issued by a court and forbids a named individual from visiting or even approaching the person who has asked for the order. Restraining orders are usually requested by those who fear they may be violently attacked by a former spouse or boyfriend. Over 75% of the restraining orders against jail inmates had been requested by their intimate partners.
|State prisoners||Federal prisoners|
|Number of parents|
|Number of minor children|
|Note: Numbers are estimates based on responses to the 1991 and 1997 Surveys of Inmates in State and Federal Correctional Facilities, and custody counts from the National Prisoner Statistics program.|