A federal report issued Friday says two city jails, Philadelphia Industrial Correctional Center and Riverside Correctional Facility, had among the nation's highest rate of inmates who said they were the target of sexual victimization.
At the Industrial Correctional Center, 6.3 percent of inmates who responded to the Bureau of Justice Statistics survey reported they were the victims of staff sexual misconduct, more than triple the national rate in jails of 1.8 percent.
Staff sexual misconduct was defined to include all incidents of unwilling and willing sexual contact between staff and inmates, both of which are illegal.
At Riverside, which houses women, 6.7 percent of inmates responding to the survey said they were victims of unwanted sexual contact with other inmates, more than four times the national rate in jails of 1.6 percent.
Shawn Hawes, a spokeswoman for the city prison system, said the department was reviewing the report.
"We don't really have a comment other than we actively forward any allegations of sexual abuse to the Special Victims Unit" of the Police Department, Hawes said.
She said the city was installing video cameras in most common areas at the Industrial Correctional Center, which opened in 1986 at 8301 State Rd. The cameras are being installed for general security, not specifically to address sexual abuse, she said.
Riverside, which opened in 2004 at 8151 State, already has video cameras, Hawes said.
The Industrial Correctional Center houses high-risk inmates, many charged with murder and other violent crimes, said Mark McDonald, a spokesman for Mayor Nutter.
"It is a population where you would expect difficulty, and we're making efforts to address it," McDonald said.
The survey was administered to 92,000 jail and prison inmates nationwide in 2011 and 2012, in most cases by a computer-assisted questionnaire. Participation in the survey was anonymous, so the allegations cannot be verified.
The report authors said that although some of the allegations may be untrue, other cases of unwanted sexual contact may go unreported because inmates fear they will not be kept confidential.
Nationwide, 4 percent of state and federal prison inmates reported experiencing one or more incidents of sexual victimization during the previous 12 months, either with other inmates or facility staffers.
Among jail inmates, the national rate was 3.2 percent. Neither the jail rate nor the prison rate was statistically different from when the survey was first administered, in 2007.