Policy Brief: The Prison Rape Elimination Act: Obama Must Protect Immigrants from Sexual Assault

(August 2011) — Sexual violence is pervasive in America’s prisons and jails. Congress took an important step to prevent sexual abuse in prison when it passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which set a “zero-tolerance standard” for prison rape and created guidelines to hold correctional facilities accountable for protecting inmates. But the Obama administration refuses to apply these protections to the 400,000 immigrants, refugees, and asylum seekers it detains every year, even though a 2010 report by Human Rights Watch uncovered numerous allegations of sexual abuse in immigration detention facilities. This exemption is flawed and dangerous and it is time for the Obama administration to apply PREA’s common-sense standards to all immigration detention facilities. This policy brief examines the need for PREA protection in immigration detention facilities and the important impact this measure would have.

Read the policy brief.

In September, the Deparment of Justice held a Panel Hearing on Prison Rape. NIJC's testimony of why PREA must apply to immigration detention facilities was entered into record at the hearing. Read the testimony.