NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Eliminating Prison Rape

August 26, 2003

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, would take a decidedly different stance toward sexual violence among the incarcerated than its past indifference, says the Washington Post. All levels of government have a duty to ensure that prisoners are safe from coerced sex, the national legislature has said.

Nobody knows how many of the more than 2 million prisoners are raped in America every year.

  • However, experts say that 13 percent of inmates in American prisons may have been sexually assaulted.
  • In some institutions, more than 20 percent of inmates may be victims.

In other words, there probably have been hundreds of thousands of rapes.

The bill would require the Justice Department to compile national data on the problem and provide training and help for state and federal officials responsible for preventing and prosecuting prison rapes.

It would authorize federal grants for prevention programs, and it would require the department to formulate national standards for controlling prison rape -- standards with which states must comply or suffer reductions in federal prison funding. Create a national commission to study the problem of sexual violence in prisons and make recommendations to the department regarding what the national standards should require.

Source: Editorial, "Stopping Prison Rape," Washington Post, August 26, 2003.


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