Allegations of sexual abuse by a 16-year-old girl imprisoned in Alabama’s only youth lockup facility for girls have generated a $171 million federal lawsuit against the Department of Youth Services, which administers juvenile corrections in Alabama. The lawsuit, brought by Alana Williams, her mother and eight others, claims that girls were raped, beaten, and pressured to have abortions after being impregnated by male guards.
After the lawsuit was filed, at least 36 girls brought allegations against the Chalkville facility, charging everything from inappropriate comments by guards to oral sex between girls and employees. Although the Department of Youth Services will not comment on the lawsuit, it has either fired or recommended the termination of 15 men and has not denied that workers had sexual relations with underage girls. Allegations of this kind are not unique to Alabama, but rather fit into an alarming tendency for United States prisons to not protect female inmates from sexual abuse, according to a March Amnesty International Report.