Immediate Action Needed: Important Prison Rape Elimination Bill In Danger Without Your Support
Late last night, the Connecticut Senate voted to adopt the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission standards for all Connecticut detention facilities! These standards, developed with input from JDI, are more effective than those expected to be approved by the Department of Justice. On a consent vote, the Senate approved state Representative Pat Dillon's important bill (HB 6642) which makes Connecticut a national leader in the struggle to end sexual abuse in detention.
Thanks to everyone who took action on this! From all reports, Rep. Dillon and LaReese Harvey, the Policy Director at Connecticut's A Better Way Foundation and a survivor of sexual abuse in detention, were working all day yesterday to get this bill through the state Senate. Please send Rep. Dillon a quick email thanking her for her leadership in making Connecticut one of the most aggressive states working to end this human rights crisis. She can be reached at Patricia.Dillon@cga.ct.gov.
Also, please take a minute to reach out to Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy at 860-566-4840 or use his online contact form (which can be used by anyone regardless of where you live). Gov. Malloy is expected to sign the bill, but it is helpful to show him how important this step is for Connecticut and the country. We've attached model language below.
"Dear Gov. Malloy:
Connecticut's legislature has taken a bold step to end sexual abuse in all Connecticut detention facilities. I strongly urge you to finish the job by signing HB 6642 into law in order to protect detainees in your state and set an example for states around the nation.
Sexual abuse in detention is a human rights crisis; with your support, Connecticut can be a leader in ending this injustice."
Connecticut is poised to pass one of the strongest state laws in the nation addressing prisoner rape, but we need your help to make sure it doesn't die in the next two days. Despite strong support for the bill throughout Connecticut and expected passage in the state Senate and signing by Governor Dannel Malloy, State Representative Pat Dillon's aggressive bill to end sexual abuse in the state's detention facilities is not expected to make it onto the state Senate's agenda before the end of the legislative session on Wednesday, June 8.
In order to keep the bill alive, we need to reach out to State Senator Eric Coleman, the Chair of the Judiciary Committee and a supporter of this bill, and urge him to get the bill onto the Senate's agenda by calling him at (860) 240-0530 or emailing him.
The bill, inspired in part by compelling survivor testimony and Rep. Dillon's concerns that sexual assault in detention is contributing to the transmission of HIV, would require all state and local detention facilities in Connecticut to implement the standards recommended by the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission -- standards that JDI helped develop.
As you know, these standards are stronger than the weakened measures currently awaiting approval by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder. If passed, this bill will require Connecticut facilities to implement more effective policies to end sexual abuse in detention than would be required by the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.
We need your help to keep this bill alive! If we don't let Senator Coleman know how important this bill is to all of us, it could easily be left off the agenda in the session's closing hours. Please contact Senator Coleman right now and urge him to get this bill onto the agenda.
If you'd like more information about Rep. Dillon's bill and the testimony of LaResse Harvey, read the New Haven Independent story at: http://bit.ly/g17N5v.