Texas Gov. Rick Perry has refused to adopt new federal standards aimed at combatting prison rape, saying it is “impossible” to comply.  In a letter sent to Attorney General Eric Holder, the governor wrote that though the intention of 2003’s Prison Rape Elimination Act is “commendable”, the rules are “cumbersome”.  The Department of Justice’s new rules address widespread sexual assault and require imposing such standards as separating teen offenders from adult offenders, eliminating any cross-gender pat downs by officers, etc.  The federal government spent 10 years investigating and putting together the new requirements.  Perry says the rules aren’t feasible for Texas because Texas considers 17-year-olds adults, so it is too expensive to separate them from the adult population.  In addition, adding more staff is “unacceptable”.  So, apparently, it costs to much to prevent rape.

“The rules appear to have been created in a vacuum…” Perry wrote.

Just Detention International, an advocacy group focused on preventing sexual abuse, was understandably upset, Perry “puts the safety of thousands of people at risk” and “ignores the overwhelming evidence of a human rights crisis…”

They cited a 2013 Bureau of Justice Statistics report that singled out Texas facilities more than any other state for having high sexual abuse problems.  The organization dismissed Perry’s criticism that the standards were developed without input noting that a bipartisan commission held hearings with all levels of experts including corrections officials, including one hearing in Austin, Texas.

A 2010 Bureau of Justice report found that 1 in every 8 juvenile offenders are raped while in detention.

RELATED:  Prison Guards Are Responsible for 50% of Prison Rapes


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