New York City Department of Correction Must Take Responsibility
for Sexual Abuse
WASHINGTON, DC, Oct. 29, 2008. Just Detention
International (JDI), an international human rights organization, calls on the
New York City Department of Correction (DOC) to comply with the Prison Rape
Elimination Act (PREA) by participating in a public hearing addressing rampant
sexual violence at Rose M. Singer Center (RMSC), a women's jail at Rikers
In a recent Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) report, RMSC was ranked as having
one of the highest rates of sexual abuse among U.S. jails. The report was based
on a BJS survey with detainees at county jails nationwide about their
experiences with sexual victimization. The Department of Justice Review Panel on
Prison Rape is mandated under PREA to hold public hearings with the jails found
to have the nation's highest and lowest rates of sexual abuse. So far, the New
York City Department of Correction is the only corrections system that has
refused to appear before the Review Panel on Prison Rape.
While the BJS estimated that approximately three percent of jail detainees
nationwide had been sexually victimized in the previous six months, the rate at
RMSC was more than seven percent. Based on these results, the Review Panel on
Prison Rape scheduled a public hearing for September 25th, 2008, but RMSC
officials refused to cooperate.
“The only way to eliminate sexual violence behind bars is to examine the
factors that underlie the problem and to hold accountable officials who
fail to take serious steps to prevent and respond to this egregious type
of abuse," said Lovisa Stannow, Executive Director of JDI. "The DOC's
refusal to appear before the Review Panel on Prison Rape sends a
dangerous signal to jail officials and detainees that sexual violence is
not taken seriously."
Just Detention International (JDI), formerly known as Stop Prisoner Rape
(SPR), is the only organization in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to
eliminating sexual abuse in all forms of detention. JDI was instrumental
in securing passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).
For a copy of the For a copy of the BJS report, "Sexual Victimization in Local Jails Reported
by Inmates, 2007,” please go to
For more information, please call JDI’s East Coast Program Director
Melissa Rothstein, at 202-580-6971 or 718-873-4036 (cell).