Sexual Assault

Justice Department Takes First Steps to Protect Kids from Rape

Justice Department Takes First Steps to Protect Kids from Rape

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 11:41am
In 2003, Congress took an important first step in addressing a national tragedy: epidemic levels of rape and sexual abuse in our nation’s prisons, jails and youth detention centers. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), passed unanimously in Congress and signed into law by President George W. Bush, called for the development of binding national standards for the prevention, detection, response and monitoring of sexual violence behind bars. After nine years, these standards were finally released by the U.S. Department of Justice earlier this month. They represent the first national effort to hold correctional facilities accountable for abuse while at the same time instituting policies and procedures that will help prevent abuse in the first place.
New Federal Standards Offer Unprecedented Protections to LGBTI Prisoners

New Federal Standards Offer Unprecedented Protections to LGBTI Prisoners

By Leslie Cooper, LGBT Project at 2:25pm

Yesterday the Department of Justice (DOJ) released the long-awaited National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape. These standards – the first of their kind—create an historic opportunity to put an end to the epidemic of sexual abuse in prison, which disproportionately affects prisoners who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or have intersex conditions (LGBTI).

One Year Longer?  Why Won’t DHS Protect Its Detainees under the Prison Rape Elimination Act Right Now?

One Year Longer? Why Won’t DHS Protect Its Detainees under the Prison Rape Elimination Act Right Now?

By Chris Rickerd, ACLU Washington Legislative Office at 1:18pm

The Prison Rape Elimination Act was passed by a unanimous Congress in 2003, with regulations due by June 2010. It was clearly intended to cover all detainees, civil and criminal. Two years later, the Obama administration at last released the final implementing rules for PREA. Commendably, the Department of Justice reversed its prior position that PREA doesn’t cover all immigration detainees. Yet the Department of Homeland Security – despite an abysmal track record of preventing and investigating sexual abuse and assault in its facilities, which was recently exposed on PBS’s Frontline – got a 360-day extension on PREA compliance.

PREA Rule: DOJ Takes First Steps to Protect Prison Rape Victims

PREA Rule: DOJ Takes First Steps to Protect Prison Rape Victims

By Amy Fettig, ACLU National Prison Project at 12:05pm

Last Thursday’s release of the long-delayed national Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) regulations by the Department of Justice reminds us of the hundreds of prison rape victims we’ve heard from over the years who could not seek justice because the prison officials who failed to protect them were essentially immunized from liability by a 1996 federal law, the Prison Litigation Reform Act (PLRA). The announced purpose of the PLRA was to curb the filing of frivolous litigation by prisoners. In reality, the law makes it

Say No to For-Profit Prisons

Say No to For-Profit Prisons

By David Shapiro, ACLU National Prison Project at 9:50am

Earlier this year, Corrections Corporation of America (CCA), the largest for-profit incarceration company in America, sent a letter to officials in 48 states offering to buy state prisons and run them for a profit. We're still waiting to hear what…

This Week in Civil Liberties (04/13/2012)

This Week in Civil Liberties (04/13/2012)

By Rekha Arulanantham, ACLU at 5:48pm

Which state recently passed the first bill in the nation that bans employers from asking for social media passwords?

Which Michigan agency has ended the practice of sexually abusive searches of women prisoners?

What constitutionally-guaranteed…

Standing Up Against Sexual Assault By the State

Standing Up Against Sexual Assault By the State

By Mie Lewis, Women's Rights Project at 11:05am

After meeting with visitors, prisoners in a Michigan prison are forced to remove all of their clothing and spread open their vaginal lips as a guard peers into their vaginal cavities.

The Administration Must Act: Immigrants in Detention Deserve Equal Protection from Sexual Abuse

The Administration Must Act: Immigrants in Detention Deserve Equal Protection from Sexual Abuse

By Sandhya Bathija, Washington Legislative Office at 6:14pm

In 2009, Claudia Leiva Deras, a domestic violence survivor who is now a lawful U.S. resident, was held in immigration detention at the Cass County Jail in Plattsmouth, Neb. While Claudia waited there for the outcome of her immigration hearing,…

Note to Military: Sexual Assault Includes Rape

Note to Military: Sexual Assault Includes Rape

By Sandra S. Park, Staff Attorney, ACLU Women's Rights Project at 5:59pm

The government has turned a blind eye to these crimes has allowed them to continue, imperiling the lives of victims and degrading their service.

"Work It Out" With Your Rapist? No Way.

"Work It Out" With Your Rapist? No Way.

Outrageous: After a student in Texas reported her rape by a fellow student, school officials told to "work it out" with her rapist.

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