The New York Times called on Attorney General Eric Holder in an editorial not to water down pending regulations to prevent prison rapes. The policy, which is overdue, is especially needed in view of the recent U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics report “suggesting yet again that sexual violence is frighteningly commonplace in the nation's prisons and jails,” the Times says. The survey estimated that 4.4 percent of prison inmates and 3.1 percent of jail inmates reported being sexually assaulted one or more times. The bureau believes that 88,500 prison and jail inmates experienced some form of sexual victimization in the previous 12 months.
The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission found that some prisons promoted a climate of safety while others implicitly tolerated abuse. Recommendations included better screening and training for guards, better medical and psychiatric care for assault victims, better protection for the most vulnerable inmates and the ensuring that victims can report rape without risk of reprisal. Holder should make sure that state and local corrections officials don’t succeed in diluting the proposals, the Times says.