Lovisa Stannow is the Executive Director of Just Detention International. (October 2012)
Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011–12: National Inmate Survey, 2011–12 by Allen J. Beck and others
Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012: National Survey of Youth in Custody, 2012 by Allen J. Beck and others
Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails by the Review Panel on Prison Rape, edited by G.J. Mazza
Sexual Victimization Reported by Former State Prisoners, 2008 by Allen J. Beck and Candace Johnson
National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape Department of Justice, June 2012, 128 pp., available at
Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2007–2008 by Allen J. Beck and Paul Guerino
National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape: Notice of Proposed Rulemaking by the United States Department of Justice
Initial Regulatory Impact Analysis for Notice of Proposed Rulemaking: Proposed National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape Under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) by the United States Department of Justice
Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2008–09 by Allen J. Beck, Paige M. Harrison, and others
Summary Report for Administrative Review by Tish Elliott-Wilkins
Report of Investigation by Brian Burzynski
Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2008–09 by Allen J. Beck, Paige M. Harrison, and Paul Guerino
Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons Reported by Inmates, 2007 by Allen J. Beck and Paige M. Harrison
Sexual Victimization in Local Jails Reported by Inmates, 2007 by Allen J. Beck and Paige M. Harrison
National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Report
The PBS show Frontline, documenting harsh conditions in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) detention facilities, recently told the story of an immigrant whom it called “Mary.” During a routine traffic stop in Florida, police discovered that Mary’s visa had expired. They sent her to the Willacy Detention Center in southern Texas; there, over the course of three months, she was repeatedly raped by one of her guards. Finally, unable to endure further abuse and told by other detainees that she would face retaliation if she complained, she stopped fighting deportation and asked to be sent home to Canada, leaving behind four young children who were born in the US. It has now been two years since she has seen them.
Perhaps the worst part of this immensely distressing story is how unexceptional it is. There is abundant evidence that rape is a systemic problem in our immigration detention facilities—for women, for men, and, as the Women’s Refugee Commission has documented, for children.
Prisoner rape is far more a legal and moral issue than a financial one. Since cost considerations are impeding reform, however, it is worth taking a closer look at the true financial implications of sexual abuse behind bars.
When Troy Erik Isaac was first imprisoned in California, his cellmate made the introductions for both of them. “He said to me, ‘Your name is gonna be Baby Romeo, and I’m Big Romeo.’ He was saying he would be my man.” Troy was twelve at the time. A skinny, terrified little kid, he accepted the prisoner’s bargain being imposed on him: protection for sex. He wasn’t protected, though. Soon he was attacked and raped at night by another cellmate, a sixteen-year-old. He told staff he was suicidal, hoping to be placed in solitary confinement, but they ignored him; the rapes continued.