By Caleb Whitmer / The Tennessean
Tennessee juvenile correction facilities have higher rates of sexual victimization among inmates than the national average, according to a report recently released by the U.S. Department of Justice.
The report estimates 9.5 percent of youth in state and private correctional facilities across the nation were sexually victimized in 2011-2012, or just more than 1,700 youth. The rate for Tennessee facilities was 13 percent.
The DOJ's Bureau of Justice Statistics compiled the numbers through surveys of 326 facilities across the country. Nearly 8,700 youth responded to the sexual victimization part of the survey. The report defines sexual victimization as any forced sexual activity between youth and all sexual activity involving staff.
Of the four Tennessee facilities surveyed, John S. Wilder Youth Development Center in Somerville had the highest rate of reported sexual victimization, at 19.5 percent.
Nationally, 2.5 percent of youth claimed to have been victimized sexually by another youth while 7.7 percent claimed to have been victimized by a correctional facility staff member.