Recently released federal data shows that sexual abuse rates are twice the national average at Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility in Albany, which is the only female youth jail in the state.
14.3 percent of the 42 survey respondents, or six individuals, reported being sexually victimized at the facility. That number is more than double the national average of 7.1 percent.
The data, collected in 2018, does not specify whether the alleged abuse was conducted by staff or fellow inmates. Oregon Public Broadcasting first reported the data.
Oregon Youth Authority, which oversees Oak Creek Youth Correctional Facility, said in a blog post on its website that it was surprised by the federal data.
“The survey results puzzled us,” Oregon Youth Authority wrote in a post on its website. “We are seeking more context on the federal data to better understand what it means…the survey contradicts all of the other data we have on sexual abuse in our facilities.”
The organization said its own internal audit showed an average of 2.5 percent of its residents reporting being the victim of sexual violence between April 2018 and October 2019.
Juan Chavez, an attorney and the project director of the Oregon Justice Resource Center, emphasized the rarity of individuals mis-reporting incidents of sexual abuse, especially in a jail setting where retaliation is more likely.
"You're more than likely to face retribution if you aggrieve the individual," Chavez said. "Word spreads fast in those places."