Protect and Serve

Stopping Prison Rape

Each year, more than 100,000 people are sexually abused in American prisons. The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission has released national standards for detention centers to decrease sexual abuse behind bars, but will they be implemented? Attorney General Eric Holder has until June 23 to review them and make necessary changes before making them nationally binding, but opposition could be holding him back. While the commission mandated a zero-tolerance policy, Holder is being pressured to weaken the strict standards. Corrections officials oppose some of the standards and are influencing the Department of Justice while survivors and their advocates do not have a formal role in the department’s decision-making. Prison officials are concerned the standards will be too costly. Experts expect Holder to request at last an additional year to weigh the costs and the benefits.