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Indiana Won't Comply With Prison Rape Elimination Act

Steve Wagner

In 2003, the United States House of Representatives passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act. This bill was passed with the intention of all states complying with new federal regulations to increase security, as well as the ratio of caregivers and staff members to inmates.

Indiana is now one of seven states choosing to not comply with the PREA, even though Governor Mike Pence was in the house in 2003 when the bill passed without opposition. Pence is choosing not to accept federal funding for the act, because even with federal assistance, the expectations of the bill are far too costly.

The ratio for staff-to-inmates in the PREA are 1 to 8, which is an expense that would cost the state millions of dollars we just don’t have. Although some facilities, including the juvenile facilities are striving to get closer to these standards, it may take several years before the benefits outweigh the costs. Protecting inmates is important, however, and their health and wellbeing is not something that can be overlooked.

In a recent article by Indiana Public Media, State Representative Christina Hale was quoted as saying, “It’s hard to talk about treating people well in prison, because everybody gets angry at the bad guys, but we have to remember that the bad guys are coming back to live in our communities and one day they might be our neighbor.” Rehabilitation, counseling, and protection are not things we can overlook when it comes to the care of those incarcerated within our state. These people, while offenders are still members of society, and deserve to be given the rehabilitation they need.

If you have a loved one who has been the victim of sexual assault or abuse while incarcerated, give the civil rights and prison injury attorneys at Wagner Reese a call for more information on how we can possibly assist you and your family through this difficult time.

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