Media Highlights Prisoner Rape
June 25, 2009 -
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!
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
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.
Just Detention International
Op-ed: Rape in
Prison, New York Times
Op-ed: A Prison Nightmare, Washington Post
Statement from Hope Hernandez