Have you heard of the Prison Rape Elimination Act? It was passed a long time ago.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed in 2003 with unanimous support from both parties in Congress. The purpose of the act was to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.” (Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2003). In addition to creating a mandate for significant research from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and through the National Institute of Justice, funding through the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Corrections supported major efforts in many state correctional, juvenile detention, community corrections, and jail systems.
This law sounds like a good idea, and since the most common (but not the only!) victims of prison rape are men, you’d think this would be a major cause for men’s rights advocacy. I’m sure they’re poised to leap into action.
If you want an immediate focus for action, try this: Rick Perry, governor of Texas, has refused to comply, over a decade after the act was passed. His arguments aren’t very good: he claims that Texas standards have been sufficient, that it would cost too much to comply, and that they have far too many prisons and prisoners to be able to cover with the available auditing tools.
If Texas has adequate safeguards against prison rape, why is Texas one of the worst states in the country for sexual abuses in prison?
Years of government research, as well as thousands of letters to JDI from Texas inmates, show that rape is rampant in Texas prisons. In a 2013 report, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) singled out more detention facilities in Texas than in any other state for having high levels of inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse. That report, which was based on a nationwide survey of tens of thousands of inmates, was no aberration; two prior BJS inmate surveys, released in 2010 and 2007, also ranked Texas prisons as having some of the highest rates of sexual victimization in the country.
And maybe they could save some money and protect society humanely if they didn’t lock up so many men that they need hundreds of prisons. We have obscene incarceration rates, not just in Texas, but all across America.
It just seems to me that this prison problem ought to be a major focus of a men’s human rights movement, rather than abusing women and blaming them for all of their ills. Let me know when it happens.