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Tag: prison rape elimination act

Washington Post Editorial: Justice Department Should Order States to Comply with Prison Rape law

Washington Post
Editorial Board

Congress unanimously passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003. More than a decade later, many states are only beginning to comply with the law, and prison rape is still a disgusting and pervasive problem across the country.

According to the latest Justice Department survey, 4 percent of state and federal prison inmates had reported suffering sexual abuse in the previous year. That ratio was a staggering 1 in 10 for youths in various correctional facilities. And those results reflect only those willing to report sexual abuse to survey-takers.

Although American culture often treats it as such, rape cannot be an expected part of how the justice system punishes criminals, particularly young and vulnerable offenders. They surrender their liberty, not their humanity. Any official tolerance of sexual abuse in prisons, jails or local lockups is torture. Congress wisely decided to devote federal time and money to stamping it out.

So what’s the holdup? The law required a commission to make recommendations, then the Justice Department spent years finalizing rules for the states to follow. Last month, states had to report on their progress. Only New Hampshire and New Jersey certified that they fully comply with the law. Most of the rest instead offered “assurances” to the Justice Department that they were working on complying. The law offers states this leeway, as long as they devote a significant chunk of the federal money they get toward prison rape reform. Then there are a handful of states —Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, Utah and Florida — that offered no assurances that they would comply. Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) said that the rules are too one-size-fits all and would be too costly.

To read more click here.

Justice Department Threatens to Yank Federal Funding to States Over Prison Compliance

Steve Neavling
ticklethewire.com

States have two choices: Comply with federal prison standards to reduce inmate rape or lose federal grant money.

The Montgomery Advertiser reports that the Justice Department sent all 50 states a letter last week warning that would lose 5% of their federal funding if they are in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act.

The deadline to respond is May 15.

The letter comes just a month after the Justice Department released a report that showed serious problems, including inmate rape, at the Julia Tutwiler Prison for Women in Wetumpka, Ala.

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Washington Post Editorial: Prison Rape: Justice Dept. Still Has Long Way to Go to End It

By The Washington Post
Editorial

WASHINGTON — THE LATE SEN. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) did not agree on much. So it was remarkable when they joined to champion the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

Enacted in 2003, the landmark law was meant to address the scourge of sexual abuse behind bars that for too long had been accepted as an unavoidable byproduct of incarceration. It is not. Incidences of sexual abuse represent egregious lapses in institutional order and security. They are inhumane and inexcusable violations that scar tens of thousands of adult and juvenile inmates each year, often complicating their ability to reintegrate into society.

Last week, the Justice Department took an important, long-overdue but still inadequate step toward fulfilling PREA’s promise. In releasing draft regulations to implement the landmark legislation, the department closely tracked many of the recommendations of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, the congressionally created panel that spent some six years studying the problem.

To read more click here.

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