PRESS RELEASES - 2003

SPR Commends Wisconsin for Passing Law on Custodial Sexual Misconduct

August 20, 2003

LOS ANGELES - The director of the human rights group Stop Prisoner Rape praised Wisconsin legislators and Wisconsin Gov. Jim Doyle today for passing AB 51, a law criminalizing custodial sexual contact between corrections officers and inmates. /p>

"We are pleased to see Wisconsin taking this step," said SPR Executive Director Lara Stemple. "The passage of this law sends the message that custodial sexual misconduct is an issue the state takes seriously. These kinds of changes in laws and attitudes contribute to a safer, more humane society for all of us."

With the passage of the Wisconsin law, only three other states in the nation - Alabama, Vermont and Oregon - are without statutes that criminalize sexual relations between corrections officers and inmates.

"We hope these states will follow the responsible example set by Wisconsin," Stemple said.

SPR pushed for the passage of the new law, publishing an op-ed in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that drew attention to the pattern of abuses that had taken place in Wisconsin.

As SPR noted - and as was reported on several occasions in the Wisconsin media - female inmates in Wisconsin facilities had been impregnated through sexual contact with corrections officers and had faced disciplinary segregation for reporting their pregnancies./p>

In the most notorious case, a young, mentally ill inmate was sentenced to solitary confinement for becoming pregnant by a corrections officer, while the officer who caused her to become pregnant faced no charges.