Target: Rick Perry, Governor of the State of Texas
Goal: Demand that Perry stop ignoring his duties under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 holds governors responsible for ensuring that correctional facilities are properly monitored to keep inmates safe from sexual violence. While this goal should by supported by all elected officials Governor Rick Perry of Texas insists his state has no need for federal oversight. A recent study by the Bureau of Justice Statistics found the opposite to be true: Texas has more facilities with high incidence of inmate-on-inmate rape and sexual assault than any other state in the nation.
Governor Perry went so far as to write a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder essentially stating that he had no intention of complying with the law. The state’s prison rape prevention programs are sufficient, Perry maintains, and he refuses to periodically audit them for effectiveness. Perry falsely claims that states were not consulted during the law’s creation and that he can’t be bothered certify every prison or maintain adequate staffing levels at juvenile facilities in order to keep young inmates safe from sexual predators. The real issue at stake here is likely Perry’s desire to run for President in 2016. He opposes nearly all attempts by the federal government to “interfere” with his state regardless of rationale, desperate to appear anti-oversight to his conservative donors.
Urge Governor Perry to put politics aside and do what is best for his constituents. High rates of prison rape are a real problem in his state and attempts to address the issue can no longer be ignored. Demand that he comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.
Dear Governor Perry,
No politician wants to be seen as “soft on crime.” Why then would you be so resistant to your obligations under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003? Federal statistics show that Texas has the nation’s largest number of prison facilities with high rates of inmate-on-inmate sexual violence and yet you consistently claim that no reform is necessary.
This isn’t an issue of government overreach, despite your insistence. Clearly your state’s prison rape prevention measures are failing to address this terrible epidemic. Auditing them for effectiveness will help protect the basic human rights of inmates. Increasing staffing levels at juvenile detention facilities will help prevent sexual violence including that initiated by the guards themselves. Can you honestly call such measures “wasteful” spending?
I call on you to stop ignoring the tragically high rates of sexual violence against inmates in Texas and to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. To do any less taints the image of your office and your great state.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: NPREC via Wikimedia