Federal guidelines attempt to prevent prison rape in part by separating young offenders from adult inmates, but four years after the rules were supposed to take effect, they are proving difficult to adopt in crowded jails and prisons, the Associated Press reports. Since 2012, states have been working to meet the standards of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, or PREA. Texas sheriffs say separating the two populations has been a challenge because of overcrowding and steep financial costs. “It’s a big logistical headache,” Brazos County Sheriff Chris Kirk said.
The law was supposed to provide for better staff training, improved reporting and investigation of all sexual assaults behind bars and more money for research. The nation’s 7,600-plus prisons, jails, community-based facilities, and juvenile detention centers are being checked on their compliance with the law. So far, only 12 states are in full compliance, according to the Justice Department. Thirty-six other states say they are working to comply. Still, the department said it sees “evidence of a very substantial effort nationwide” to satisfy the new standards. Associated Press