Texas Gov. Rick Perry says the state won’t comply with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The Grits for Breakfast blog quotes a letter Perry sent Friday to Attorney General Eric Holder asserting that the federal government had “created a counterproductive and unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulatory mess for the states.” Perry had a number of objections, including that the law infringes on Texas’ minimum age of 17 for adult crimes and sets staffing ratios for juvenile detention facilities that differ from Texas’.
Perry said Texas has 297 facilities subject to PREA, and each governor must certify by May 15, under threat of criminal penalties, that they comply with the federal law. Perry said he was unable to do that, saying “I cannot and will not certify as true those things for which I do not have the facts.” Grits for Breakfast expresses doubts that the federal law has criminal penalties or that Perry controls 297 facilities covered by the law. (Although Perry blames the Obama administration for the PREA rules, the law was signed by President George W. Bush.)