Texas Media Focus on Sexual Abuse Behind Bars

April 9, 2010 -

This week, an article that ran in both the Houston Chronicle and the Austin American-Statesman drew attention to the crisis of sexual abuse in Texas detention facilities. That article prompted a response from state lawmakers, who wrote to the Texas Board of Criminal Justice asking, "Doesn't it seem that sexual assaults are still unacceptably prevalent in Texas prisons?" Today, the Houston Chronicle published a strong editorial on the need for national standards addressing prisoner rape, with a particular emphasis on the importance of external oversight. Prominent bloggers have also picked up the story.

JDI has long worked to address the unconscionable levels of sexual abuse in Texas prisons, jails, and juvenile facilities. We have done so by advocating on behalf of individual inmates, collaborating with state and county corrections agencies, and supporting legislative reform.

Sexual violence behind bars is preventable. It is the responsibility of Texas lawmakers, government officials, and prison staff to make sure that each detention facility upholds a zero-tolerance policy for this type of abuse. We are hopeful that this new round of media scrutiny will motivate the Texas Department of Criminal Justice and other agencies to show strong leadership and eliminate prisoner rape once and for all.

Thank you for your continued support of JDI's work. Prisoner rape is not unique to Texas. On the contrary, it's a nationwide human rights crisis, underscoring the need for national standards aimed at eliminating all forms of sexual abuse behind bars.

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