House Speaker Hastert Endorses Prison Rape Reduction Act

Sept. 26, 2002

WASHINGTON D.C. - House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.) today endorsed the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2002, legislation he called "a truly compassionate initiative that will make real progress in changing the realities of incarceration."

Hastert's endorsement came in a letter to Charles Colson, the chairman of Prison Fellowship Ministries. The group is a backer of the bill.

The speaker, saying the issue of prisoner rape "is one of compassion" and "transcends one's political affiliation," called the legislation a measure that would "go a long way in addressing a problem that has too long been quietly swept under the rug."

"Prison rape goes way beyond the bounds that any civilized society can tolerate," Hastert wrote. "Also, it undermines rehabilitation efforts by the criminal justice system and often leads to inmates becoming more violent while in prison."

The Prison Rape Reduction Act, which is pending before Congress, 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.

Stop Prisoner Rape, a supporter of the bill, recently provided testimony in support of the PRRA to the Senate Judiciary Committee and this week launched a letter-writing campaign to encourage the Bush administration to support the legislation.