The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 is a national effort that seeks to address this crisis by doing the following:
- Developing standards for detention, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape.
- Collecting and disseminating information when a prison rape occurs
- Awarding grants and technical assistant to help state government implement the Act.
The law’s ultimate goal is to eliminate sexual assault behind bars altogether. But there’s a problem. Texas Governor Rick Perry doesn’t want to support it, claiming getting prisoners and prison officials to comply would be “impossible” and saying his state doesn’t need the standards anyway, that the system it has in place is just fine, despite alarming evidence to the contrary.
Just Detention, a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse behind bars, released a statement criticizing Perry for his lack of cooperation with the law.
“Governor Perry has touted the effectiveness of the state’s ‘Safe Prisons Program,’” the organization said. “But inmates themselves tell a different story. Recently, a Texas prisoner — one of countless inmates from the state who have written to JDI — said, ‘It takes about six months for your case to be processed. All the while, you’re still being raped.’”
The statement continues: “Every year, thousands of Texans are sexually abused behind bars. Most of these people — adults and children, loved ones and neighbors — will one day be released back into their communities, bringing with them the emotional and physical scars of the abuse they have endured. All of us are better off when detainees are kept safe.”
Check out Just Detention’s inforgraphic below.