Prisoner Rape Survivors Celebrate
AFTER DECADES-LONG STRUGGLE, MEN AND WOMEN WHO SURVIVED ABUSE IN DETENTION APPLAUD RELEASE OF BINDING FEDERAL REGULATIONS
Today prisoner rape survivors hailed the passage of long-awaited national standards to end sexual abuse in detention. The binding national standards mandated by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which were released today by the Department of Justice, pave the way for ending one of the worst human rights crises of our time. Survivors of prisoner rape, who endured horrific abuse while in the government’s custody, have been leaders in the fight for the PREA standards.
To watch a short film of survivors responding to the standards, click here or on the image below.
Here are a few survivor comments on the significance of the standards:
Jan Lastocy was raped several times a week for seven months by a Michigan prison official while serving time for attempted embezzlement:
“I have dreamed of this day for years. The PREA standards aren’t perfect, but they are an amazing tool for making prisons safer. I don’t need revenge. All I want is to know that others won’t have to live through the horror I endured. Now we need to use the standards and stop prisoner rape once and for all.”
Troy Erik Isaac was subjected to sexual violence over many years in California detention facilities, beginning at the age of 12:
“We finally did it. It took many years of hard work, but, at long last, we have strong standards to protect men, women, and children behind bars. There’s still work left to be done, but today I’m celebrating because I know that my government is committed to stopping prisoner rape.”
Frank Mendoza was beaten and sexually assaulted by an official at the Los Angeles County Jail:
“Prisoner rape is not just a statistic for those of us who have lived through it—it is a life-shattering experience. This violence has to stop. But the standards have filled me with the hope that no one ever will have to experiencewhat I went through.”
Garrett Cunningham was raped by a corrections officer in a Texas state prison:
“The fear of retaliation by staff or other prisoners haunted me and prevented me from reporting the rape right away. My fear led me to attempt suicide just to escape the pain of my situation. If strong national standards had been in place when I was in prison, my abuse may have never happened. Now that the standards have been released, we can make sure it never happens again.”
Kimberley Yates was raped repeatedly by an officer at a federal prison:
“When I was behind bars, there was no oversight, no access to counseling, and no confidential reporting. Today, for the first time ever, it’s possible to envision a day when inmates are no longer denied the right to be free of sexual abuse.”
Just Detention International will put out a statement on the content of the standards shortly.
Journalists who are intestered in speaking with a survivor of prisoner rape should contact Jesse Lerner-Kinglake at firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel 213-384-1400, ext. 113, cell: 424-230-4540.