Sexual assaults addressed at Ohio's youth prisons

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — The head of Ohio's juvenile prison system tells a federal panel in Washington that the state has reacted aggressively to reports of high rates of sexual assault in the facilities.

Ohio Department of Youth Services director Harvey Reed told the three-member review panel on Thursday that he was stunned when a report released earlier this year found that three of Ohio's four juvenile-detention facilities had sexual-assault rates of 19 percent or above.

Reed's testimony came during a review required under the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act to assess how effectively prisons and jails are preventing sexual assaults.

Despite the sexual-assault report, Ohio's system has been lauded nationally for reducing the number of juveniles in prison. Reed said there are about 493 inmates in the state's youth prisons.