The U.S. House Appropriations panel that funds the Justice Department said this week it is “very disappointed in the department’s failure to publish the national standards” for the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which were supposed to be adopted more than a year ago.
During that period, said the committee headed by Rep. Frank Wolf (R-VA), more than 216,000 adults and minors have been sexually assaulted in U.S. prisons, according to federal reports. The committee said it wants the department to publish as soon as possible a final rule adopting national standards for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape, to help state, local and tribal jurisdictions comply.
A federal commission recommended standards, including independent audits to measure compliance at least every three years. Audit results should be made public, the panel said, to help “serve the critical purpose of prompting intervention when audits show an agency struggling or failing to prevent sexual abuse.” The committee urged prisons and jails to use cost-effective monitoring technologies to aid staff supervision and prevent staff misconduct.