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U.S. Congress Takes Crucial Step to Address Prisoner Rape

  • February 24, 2016

U.S. Congress Takes Crucial Step to Address Prisoner Rape

Just Detention International Applauds Bipartisan Proposal to Strengthen Prison Rape Elimination Act

Los Angeles and Washington, D.C., February 24, 2016 — More than a decade after the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), Congress is seeking to add new teeth to the law. Today’s proposal — introduced as part of the reauthorization of the Justice for All Act (JFAA) — imposes a much-needed deadline for states to comply with PREA. Through a sunset provision, states will have six years from JFFA’s passage to implement the PREA standards fully.

“Until now, governors have not been subjected to any deadline for implementing PREA. Instead, governors have been able to kick the can down the road simply by assuring the Attorney General that they are trying to comply with the law. Today’s bill seeks to fix that fundamental flaw,” said Lovisa Stannow, JDI’s Executive Director.

JFAA also represents a leap forward for prison transparency by requiring states to disclose annually which of their facilities have been audited in the previous year, what their plans are for the upcoming year with regard to preventing and addressing prisoner rape, and any barriers they are facing in reaching full compliance with PREA. In addition, JFAA mandates the federal government to set up an online clearinghouse for all PREA audit reports, opening a new window into the world of corrections reform.

“Once the Justice Department posts all PREA audits in one place, it will become possible to track and compare the progress of prisons and jails and to hold those that aren’t doing their job accountable. This clearinghouse will be a hugely important tool for advocates, journalists, prisoners — anyone who wants to know what’s happening inside,” said Stannow.

These key proposals to strengthen PREA were made possible by Senators Kelly Ayotte,  John Cornyn, Dick Durbin, and Patrick Leahy and Representatives Ted Poe and Jim Costa. JDI applauds their leadership in continuing the effort to end sexual abuse in detention.


Just Detention International is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention