Report details women’s accounts of sexual misconduct by staff in Massachusetts prisons and jails
By Deborah Becker
July 11, 2022
A report obtained by WBUR attempts to document what’s often a hidden problem: sexual misconduct against women incarcerated in Massachusetts.
The research, from Prisoners’ Legal Services of Massachusetts, is based on interviews with 22 women, either currently or formerly incarcerated in prisons and jails across the state. Of the women interviewed, the vast majority — 19 women — said they had either experienced or witnessed sexual harassment or sexual violence while in custody.
The women provided detailed descriptions of the alleged misconduct by correction officers and other staff, including harassment.
“Officers frequently use misogynistic language when referring to incarcerated women,” the report said. “Officers also use their positions of power to leer at and comment on incarcerated women’s bodies in a sexual manner. Incarcerated women report that officers have become verbally and physically abusive during unclothed searches.”