Senate May Pass Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2002 in Upcoming Session
August 14, 2002
WASHINGTON D.C. - The Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2002,
a bill that would help end the sexual abuse of prisoners, could be passed
by the Senate as soon as September.
The Senate, which held a July 31 Judiciary Committee hearing on the bill,
is on recess through Sept. 3. Staffers say it is possible the bill will be
passed when Congress returns from its break. Once through Congress, the
act would need presidential approval to go into effect.
The Prison Rape
Reduction Act of 2002 is designed to eliminate prisoner rape by
authorizing a study to document the extent of the problem; and by creating
a program of standards and incentives to help corrections officials detect
and prevent prison rape.
Lara Stemple, executive
director of Stop Prison Rape (SPR), said, "This legislation is the first
serious federal attempt to deal with a human rights crisis that has been
virtually ignored in this country."
"SPR has worked on this
problem for over two decades, and it's satisfying to see it finally coming
to the fore," Stemple said. "Prisoner rape is a serious abuse that is
dehumanizing and sometimes deadly. Victims have been left beaten and
bloodied, they have suffered long-term psychological harm, and they have
The Prison Rape
Reduction Act of 2002 is sponsored by an unique bipartisan coalition:
Frank Wolf, R-Virginia, Bobby Scott, D-Virginia, Sen. Jeff Sessions,
R-Alabama, and Sen. Ted Kennedy, D-Massachusetts.
"This is something that people on both sides of the aisle can agree on,"
Stemple said. "Inmates who are sexually abused in prison come out more
likely to re-offend. The violence that we allow inside prisons doesn't
stop at the prison walls. Its aftermath reaches all of us.