Incarcerating people in a system where sexual assault is as common as it is in America’s prisons no doubt constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. There is no excuse for AG Holder to delay another year in implementing guidelines he was required by law to enact by June 23.
ERLC, others push Holder to get tougher on prison rape
Aug 18, 2010
WASHINGTON (BP)–A diverse coalition that includes the Southern Baptist Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission is urging Attorney General Eric Holder to adopt overdue standards for eliminating prison rape.
The coalition, which ranges from conservative to liberal organizations, sent a letter and held a Washington news conference in August to call on Holder to put into effect guidelines he was required by law to enact by June 23. The Department of Justice has indicated it expects to take another year to complete its review and adopt the standards, coalition members said at the Aug. 17 news conference.
The standards, presented in June 2009 by the congressionally established National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, are intended to solve a major problem in American detention facilities. The most recently reported study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) found more than 60,000 inmates, or one in 20, were sexually assaulted at least once in the previous year. In juvenile detention institutions, nearly one in eight juveniles was sexually assaulted in the last year, according to BJS.
“[W]e are joining today to call on Attorney General Holder to stop dragging his feet, stop listening to the people who are trying to protect their own little turfs and finally give us some standards that will work to protect all people and honor the dignity and worth of every human being, even those that we have put in prison,” said Barrett Duke of the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission (ERLC) at the news conference.
Pat Nolan, vice president of Prison Fellowship and a member of the commission that submitted the standards to Holder, told reporters that tens of thousands of inmates will be raped in the next year “because we haven’t taken steps to prevent it. And that’s — that’s a scandal. That’s a stain on our national honor.