The Justice Department should not require states to use medical staff members in detention facilities to question juveniles about abusive sexual behavior the youths might have engaged in, and states should limit punishment of juveniles who have consensual sex in those facilities. Youth Today reports that those are among recommendations from major youth advocacy organizations on proposed Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response and Monitoring of Sexual Abuse from the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC).
The changes supported by the Campaign for Youth Justice, the Center for Children's Law and Policy, Children's Defense Fund, First Focus, Equity Project, Juvenile Law Center, and the Youth Law Center, were presented to Attorney General Eric Holder yesterday, the last day of the comment period. Holder is due to publish a final rule by June, and funding was announced in April for a resource center that would help correctional agencies comply with the new standards. A state that chooses not to adopt the standards, or does not comply with them after adopting them, could lose up to 5 percent of any federal grant for its prisons. The proposed standards require “at a minimum,” that medical staff should “attempt to ascertain information about prior sexual victimization or abusiveness, sexual orientation and gender identity.”