Survivors have a friend in Congress
On Tuesday, Frank Wolf (R-VA) issued a clear, urgent demand to Attorney General Eric Holder: finalize national standards addressing prisoner rape. Since the Department of Justice missed its June 2010 deadline to adopt the standards, hundreds of thousands of adults and children have been sexually abused behind bars.
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Congressman Wolf, a co-sponsor of the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), spoke movingly about the many lives that have been affected by the lack of national standards (the clip begins at the 1:38:44 mark):
I’ve talked to people who have been raped in prison. [PREA] passed in 2003. It was signed by President Bush. This was one of the few times I ever went to the Oval Office for a bill signing -- because I cared about it. That’s nine years. There have been a lot of bad things happening to a lot of people during that period of time. We really have to finish this thing.
Congressman Wolf also pressed the Attorney General on the issue of immigration detention facilities, which were not covered in the Department of Justice’s draft standards, contrary to the original intent of Congress. Reversing his prior position, the Attorney General said he agreed that immigration detention was meant to be covered by PREA and that he is recommending that the final standards do so in “some form or fashion.” This is welcome news: applying the standards to these facilities will help prevent the widespread sexual abuse of immigration detainees.
JDI applauds Congressman Wolf for his remarkable dedication to ending this national disgrace. Please join us in thanking him for demanding that the Attorney General act urgently to stop prisoner rape. You can send him an email, or thank him via Twitter.
Let’s tell Congressman Wolf that we support and appreciate his powerful stand against prisoner rape. Committed leaders, and engaged supporters like you, can put an end to this crisis, once and for all.