The Shameful Seven
When the government removes someone’s freedom, it takes on the absolute responsibility to keep that person safe from sexual abuse. Last month, the vast majority of states took a huge step toward upholding this core duty.
On May 15, 43 governors — 22 Republicans and 21 Democrats — affirmed their state’s commitment to putting in place national standards to stop prisoner rape. These standards consist of basic, commonsense measures that can be fully implemented without undue burden or cost. Most importantly, they have the potential to save lives.
What about the rest of the country? Shamefully, seven states are refusing to comply with the standards: Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, and Utah. This means that the hundreds of thousands of prisoners in these states won’t get the same protection from sexual abuse as prisoners in the other 43 states.
The seven states that rejected the national standards are led by Republicans. But the fight to stop prisoner rape has always been a bipartisan effort. When Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) — the law that mandated national standards — it did so unanimously. PREA was signed into law by President George W. Bush, and the PREA standards were issued under President Barack Obama. Today, the standards are widely supported by lawmakers, advocates, and corrections officials.
If you live in one of the seven states that is rejecting PREA, take a moment now to call your governor to express your outrage. Tell them to reverse this shameful decision and stand up for the rights of inmates.
JDI will keep fighting to make sure every inmate, in every state, is free from sexual abuse.
Thank you for being an ally in the fight to stop prisoner rape!