JDI IN THE NEWS - 2006

Lisa Schuetz  FIGHT AGAINST PRISON RAPE HAS HEATED UP, Wisconsin State Journal. April 23 2006

Across the country, the fight against prisoner rape has picked up momentum in the past decade. Although it once focused mostly on female victims, many experts place just as much emphasis on male victims.

In 1990, just 18 states and the District of Columbia made it a crime for prison workers to have sexual contact with inmates. Today Vermont is the only state without such a law.

The National Institute of Corrections, a Department of Justice agency that provides training for state prison officials, offers training on preventing staff sexual misconduct.

In 1999, the human rights organization Stop Prisoner Rape opened in Los Angeles and called more attention to the topic.

The same year, the American University Washington College of Law, in conjunction with the National Institute of Corrections, developed a program specifically addressing prison rape.

In 2003, President Bush approved the Prison Rape Elimination Act. It created a nine-member bipartisan commission to analyze and develop standards for detection, prevention, reduction and punishment of prison rape. The act also required that the Bureau of Justice Statistics collect data on the incidence of prison rape.

In late 2005, Congress toughened penalties for staff sexual misconduct in federal prisons.