A disproportionate number of sexual minority youth in the U.S. are criminalized and subjected to abusive treatment in correctional facilities, a new study focusing on youth in detention found.
Conducted by the Williams Institute at the UCLA School of Law, the study defines sexual minorities as those who identify as lesbian, gay and bisexual, as well as those who identify as straight but have had some attraction to the same sex.
The study reported on three key findings: 60 percent of all incarcerated girls are sexual minorities; sexual minority youth are two to three times more likely to be held in custody for more than a year compared to heterosexual youth; and gay and bisexual boys are nearly 11 times more likely than straight boys to report having experienced sexual violence by peers.
"The findings support calls by policymakers and advocates for the need to pay attention to the unique needs of LGB (lesbian, gay and bisexual) youth in state systems," Dr. Bianca D.M. Wilson said in a statement released by the Williams Institute.
The study's findings were based on a 2012 survey that anonymously questioned a nationally representative sample of youth at juvenile correctional facilities.