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National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape


On behalf of the Women’s Refugee Commission, I am submitting these comments on the Department’s Notice of Proposed Rulemaking which would establish Prison Rape Elimination Act National Standards (“PREA Standards”) to protect persons in confinement from rape and other forms of sexual abuse. The Department proposes PREA Standards that would apply to confinement facilities for criminal offenders, but that would not apply to facilities used to confine immigration detainees. This is contrary to the provisions of PREA. It is also directly contrary to the central rationale stated in the Department’s own notice—that “[p]rotection from sexual abuse should not depend where an individual is incarcerated: It must be universal.” National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape, Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, 76 Fed. Reg. 6248, 6250 (Feb. 3, 2011) (“NPRM”) (emphasis supplied).

The Women’s Refugee Commission urges the Department to revise this incorrect position and adopt a final rule that applies the PREA Standards to confinement facilities for immigration detainees and that provides the additional standards necessary to protect this extremely vulnerable population.