Survivors Vindicated After 13 Year Legal Struggle in Michigan
Washington, DC, July 16, 2009. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) has
stimulated significant advances in the effort to end sexual violence in detention,
particularly with the recent release of binding national standards addressing this
type of abuse. Despite such progress, however, further action is needed to ensure
Just Detention International (JDI) applauds the decision by the Michigan Department
of Corrections to settle a class action lawsuit brought by more than 500 female
prisoners who were sexually assaulted in Michigan prisons. The case has been going
on for more than 10 years -- with the state previously refusing to take responsibility
for the rampant abuse in its facilities, even after losing two related trials. The
state will pay a total of $100 million to the women victimized in Michigan's prisons.
Settling this case is a positive first step, but not enough to address and prevent
the sexual violence that continues to plague Michigan corrections facilities. With
support from the Arcus Foundation, JDI is working with the Wayne County, Michigan,
jail to provide training, review policy, and create strong partnerships with local
rape crisis centers. JDI hopes that today's settlement encourages the state prison
system, as well as other county jails in Michigan, to follow Wayne County's example
and work to end sexual abuse of those in their custody.
You can read more about the case at the
Detroit Free Press.