Barring Prison Rape

The federal government now officially recognizes prison rape as a problem. In September, Congress and President Bush ordered the Justice Department to create a national commission to research prison rape across the nation, propose prevention programs, and potentially penalize state prisons for lack of compliance. "No crime, no matter how terrible, carries a sentence of rape," said Pat Nolan, vice president of the Christian ministry Prison Fellowship.

The move by the Bush administration came after intense organizing from a broad spectrum of church and civil society organizations, including the Southern Baptist Convention, the NAACP, the Christian Coalition, Human Rights Watch, the National Association of Evangelicals, and the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism. An estimated 13 percent of the nation’s 2 million inmates have been victims of prison rape.

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