7 States May Lose U.S. Funds For Not Following Prison Rape Law


Florida, Idaho, Texas and four other states face the loss of federal funds because they have failed to meet requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, Justice Department officials said yesterday. McClatchy Newspapers reports that states had until May 15 to report compliance with the federal standards intended to “prevent, detect, and respond to prison rape.” By failing to either certify complete compliance, or attest to their progress, a state could forfeit 5 percent of any Justice Department grant funds that it would otherwise get for prison purposes.

The other states that failed to comply are Arizona, Indiana, Nebraska and Utah. Passed in 2003, the law was followed up with standards finalized by the Justice Department in 2012. The standards ban patdowns of female inmates by male correctional officers, prevent juveniles from being housed with adult inmates and require that inmates be screened for their potential to be abused. In a letter to the Justice Department, Idaho Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter asserted “it would cost the state millions of dollars” to meet all the new federal requirements. Texas Gov. Rick Perry previously declared the rules would be too costly. DOJ official Mary Lou Leary said several governors had also cited new requirements for staffing ratios in juvenile facilities. Leary added that these staffing requirements don't take effect until 2017. New Hampshire and New Jersey declared they are already in full compliance with the new standards.

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