The U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has released some disturbing statistics regarding Oregon’s only correctional facility for girls and young women. According to the National Survey Of Youth In Custody, Albany’s Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility has one of the highest rates of sexual victimization in the country.
Of the 42 detainees who participated in the survey, 14.3 percent reported having been victimized while at Oak Creek in 2018, over twice the national average of 7.1 percent. The facility is one of 12 the BJS identify as having a high rate of sexual abuse.
The Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) is “extremely concerned by the results,” Director Joseph O’Leary told The Oregonian, as the data does not match up with previous surveys undertaken by other agencies.
In 2018, the OYA only reported two incidents of sexual abuse by the staff: one case of sexual misconduct, and another case of sexual harassment, neither of which were substantiated, according to OYA spokesman Benjamin Chambers.
The agency has taken the survey results to heart, as Chambers reports that the OYA is implementing more robust training for personnel, increasing the number of security cameras, and working with their charges to develop new methods for reporting abuse.
“We will also need to review and improve our current efforts to keep youth safe from sexual abuse,” O’Leary wrote in an email to staff, “as well as identify ways to ensure we learn about and respond to incidents of sexual abuse.”
By Brandon Urey