JDI IN THE NEWS - 2011

Kathleen Macrae, Prison Rape Case Settled, American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware, September 23, 2011

Baylor Women’s Prison should be a safer facility in the years ahead because of a settlement reached between the ACLU-DE and the Delaware Department of Correction (DOC). The full press release about the settlement provides additional details.

The DOC Order and Agreement requires changes that will:

  • promote zero tolerance sexual abuse policies throughout the prison system,
  • protect women incarcerated in Baylor,
  • and provide better services to women if they are the victims of a sexual assault.
We applaud DOC for agreeing to take these important steps. They are actively working to prevent, detect and appropriately respond to the violent, criminal act of rape and other forms of sexual abuse that will make Delaware a leader in efforts to create a safer prison environment,” said Kathleen MacRae, ACLU-DE executive director.

PRISON RAPE ELIMINATION ACT (PREA)

The national Prison Rape Elimination Act was passed unanimously by Congress in 2003. It established a Prison Rape Elimination Commission that issued a report suggesting standards intended to reduce the rape and sexual abuse of men, women and children by other incarcerated individuals and corrections staff.

Over the past year, DOC began to implement important changes based on these standards. Under the settlement agreement, DOC will make many additional changes including:

    • the appointment of a Lieutenant-grade ‘prevention of sexual abuse’ coordinator,
    • a comprehensive inmate reporting system,
    • staff and third-party reporting procedures,
    • improved training for prison employees,
    • inmate education and others.

The new policies also protect inmates and employees from retaliation when they report rape and other forms of sexual abuse.

PREVENTION IS KEY

  • Inmate orientation and an inmate handbook will provide comprehensive information on reporting abuse.
  • Locations in the prison that have been the site of sexual assault because they are isolated or unmonitored will be targeted for more staff rotations or camera instillation.
  • Policies that limit cross-gender strip searches and pat down searches or the viewing of inmates when nude by non-medical staff of the opposite gender will also be implemented.

“The settlement of this case represented a sustained, sincere effort on the part of the federal court, the attorney general’s office and the DOC to create a safer environment in Baylor prison and to position Delaware as a leader of correctional reform.” said Richard Morse, ACLU-DE legal director.

ACLU-DE worked closely with cooperating attorneys John Shaw, Pilar Kraman and David Fry of Young Conaway Stargatt & Taylor, LLP and Marion Quirk of Cole, Schotz, Meisel, Forman & Leonard, P.A. on this case.

SOME FACTS

According to the federal government, 216,600 men, women and children nationwide are subjected to sexual abuse behind bars each year. Just Detention International has been working to end sexual abuse in prisons since 1980 and provides extensive information about sexual assault in prison and what can be done about it.