National Conference Addresses Prisoner Rape

October 21, 2001

WASHINGTON D.C. - Nearly 100 academics, lawyers, and activists gathered at American University's Washington College of Law over the weekend to attend the first-ever national conference on prisoner rape.

"Not Part of the Penalty: Ending Prisoner Rape" was hosted by Stop Prisoner Rape, the ACLU National Prison Project, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, Interlock Media, and the Washington College of Law.

The conference addressed issues raised by sexual violence in all forms of detention. Panel discussions were held on both prisoner-on-prisoner rape and custodial sexual misconduct (sexual abuse by prison staff). Discussions highlighted the impact of sexual abuse impact on survivors, the spread of HIV/AIDS in prison, prisoner rape myths in the media, and strategies for litigation.

"Through this conference, we have begun to build a strong coalition committed to ending sexual violence behind bars," explained Lara Stemple, Executive Director of Stop Prisoner Rape.

Stemple was especially pleased at the turn-out. She explained, "This is a serious human rights abuse that has long been ignored. We are happy to see it recognized as the dangerous, systemic problem that it is."