The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, the first federal legislation to address the problem of sexual assault in detention facilities. The bill is scheduled for a suspension calendar vote tomorrow in the House of Representatives on Wednesday, says the organization Stop Prisoner Rape.
“Rape behind bars is dehumanizing and sometimes deadly,” the group said. It contends that one in five men in prison has been sexually abused, often by other inmates. The bill calls for the gathering of national statistics about the problem; the development of guidelines for states about how to address prisoner rape; the creation of a review panel to hold annual hearings; and the provision of grants to states to combat the problem.