Press Release: Justice Department Hearings on Sexual Abuse in Jails, September 15-16, 2011
Media Contact: Chris Daley
Washington, DC, September 14, 2011. Beginning tomorrow, the Review Panel on Prison Rape, convened by the U.S. Department of Justice, will collect evidence from officials at five county jails, survivors of sexual abuse in detention, and experts on jail conditions. These hearings, mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, are a vital tool for highlighting best practices and systemic problems in county jail systems.
Just Detention International (JDI) provided advice and resources to the Department of Justice in planning these hearings and helped to identify survivors and experts who will provide testimony.
The five facilities included in the hearings were selected based on the findings in Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008-09, a report by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Three of the facilities were identified by the Bureau of Justice Statistics as having a very high prevalence of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, as reported through inmate surveys:
- Clallam County Corrections Facility (Clallam County, WA)
- Miami-Dade County Pre-Trial Detention Center (Miami-Dade County, FL)
- South White Street Jail (Orleans Parish, LA)
Two of the facilities were identified as having a very low prevalence of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, as reported through inmate surveys:
- David L. Moss Criminal Justice Center (Tulsa County, OK)
- Hinds County Work Center (Hinds County, MS)
"The Review Panel hearings clarify the fact that inmates in some American jails suffer widespread and systemic abuses, while inmates at others are relatively safe," said Lovisa Stannow, JDI's Executive Director. "Sexual abuse in detention is preventable, not an inevitable fact of life behind bars."
While space is limited, members of the public are encouraged to attend the hearings (government-issued identification is required to enter the Department of Justice building).
Anyone who is unable to attend but interested in the hearings can follow JDI's updates via Twitter @JustDetention. JDI will be using #jailrapehrng for these updates and encourages other attendees to do so as well.
The Review Panel hearings will be held at the Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice, 810 7th St NW, 3rd Floor, Washington, DC 20531.
--More information on the Review Panel hearings is available here.
--The Bureau of Justice Statistics report can be found here.