E-NEWS - 2009

Media Highlights Prisoner Rape

June 25, 2009 -

Dear Friends,

Just Detention International was honored to be represented by Survivor Council member Hope Hernandez at Tuesday's press conference releasing the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission's national standards. Hope gave a powerful testimony, capturing the audience's attention in a way no other speaker at the event could. Survivor Council member Keith DeBlasio also attended the press conference.

The significance of the release of the standards was acknowledged in editorials in the Washington Post and the New York Times, as well as other papers around the country. Unfortunately, some of the coverage failed to capture the full extent of the problem of sexual abuse in detention. JDI's letter-to-the-editor, published today in the Washington Post (see below) highlights the true prevalence of this type of violence.

Thanks everyone, for your support of our work!


Lovisa Stannow
Executive Director

Combating Prison Rape

The editorial "A Prison Nightmare" rightly noted that prison rape is widespread and unacceptable. However, the problem is more pervasive than the editorial suggests. The Bureau of Justice Statistics survey cited in the editorial estimated that 60,500 state and federal prisoners were sexually abused in the past year. That survey did not include the 1 million detainees housed in county jails, juvenile halls and other facilities.

A similar Bureau of Justice Statistics survey published in 2008 found that 25,000 county detainees had been sexually abused in the past six months. These are snapshot surveys, reaching only the inmates present on a particular day. The annual number of admissions to county jails is 17 times higher than the jail population on any day, so the surveyors covered only a fraction of the detainees. Sadly, the number of inmates sexually abused every year is significantly higher than 60,500.

Executive Director
Just Detention International
Los Angeles

Op-ed: Rape in Prison, New York Times

Op-ed: A Prison Nightmare, Washington Post

Statement from Hope Hernandez

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