This is a subject that doesn't get enough attention. It should.
Most prison rape is preventable with low cost, common sense measures. Let's see if Eric Holder has the will to do the right thing.
Via a NY Times op-ed. Please note the use of the C word (commissions). Just as there is now a commission on Big Oil's Katrina, and as there was for 9/11, there is now one for rape prevention in prisons. That's not enough. Commissions tend to be toothless and a way to placate as the clock ticks and people continue to suffer:
In 2003, Congress acknowledged the serious problem of rape in the nation’s prisons and created a commission to develop a set of national standards for preventing and punishing these crimes. [...]
Predictably, state and local corrections officials determined to preserve the disastrous status quo are pushing back. Mr. Holder must hold the line.
The commission’s recommendations [...] include better screening of guards and more training to recognize and address the signs of sexual assault, better medical and psychiatric care for assault victims, better protection for the most vulnerable, a system that allows prisoners to report rape without facing reprisal and publicly accessible records that would permit rape prevention programs to be independently monitored.
[T]he Justice Department sought comment on the proposals, further delaying the process and increasing the dangers that the reforms will be watered down. Enough is enough.
There will be hearings later this week in Congress on sexual victimization in juvenile facilities. From an early copy of a press release by JustDetention.org that will be put out tomorrow: [...]
The BJS survey, which asked detained youth about sexual victimization, found that more than 12 percent of detainees – almost one in eight – reported suffering at least one incident of abuse at their current facility in the preceding year. In the worst facilities, one in three youth was victimized. Overall, 80 percent of the abuse was perpetrated by staff.
Think about that. Imagine if this were your child. Or friend. Or anyone you care about, for that matter.
I'm having flashbacks of Abu Ghraib. Our system of justice should include guarantees of safety for juvenile offenders, and yet look at those statistics.
Let's hope A.G. Holder is listening.