Summer 2007 Newsletter - Page 4

KCSDV begins project addressing sexual violence in prisons

In September 2003, after an unanimous vote by both houses of Congress, President Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) into law. This groundbreaking law addresses the longstanding but largely ignored problem of prison rape in the U.S. Although the focus of PREA is to prevent rape and sexual assault, it also emphasizes meeting both the medical and psychological needs of victims.

PREA requires that all prisons (state and federal, public and privately operated), jails, juvenile detention centers, immigration detention facilities, and boot camps track and report the incidences of rape and sexual assault in their facilities.

In early 2005 the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC) asked KCSDV to partner with it in order to continue its efforts to address the possibility of sexual violence occurring in Kansas prison facilities. Building upon an existing collaborative relationship, KCSDV is assisting KDOC to facilitate review of existing policies and procedures regarding sexual violence in prison facilities. KCSDV has hired a Prison Rape Policy Coordinator to coordinate this policy review committee. The committee is comprised of KDOC personnel and community-based sexual assault advocates, and will review policies and make recommendations for possible improvements.

It is foreseeable that inmates, both currently incarcerated and recently released, may seek services from local programs for a sexual assault that occurred during their incarceration. Therefore, the Coordinator is also working with community-based sexual assault programs to address the needs of these victims.

For more information, contact Mickayla Fink, prison rape policy coordinator at KCSDV, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 785-232-9784.

New Resources Available to the Public

In April the National Center for Victims of Crime launched VictimLaw, a free, on-line database of victims' rights laws and protections. The searchable database includes more than 15,000 victims' rights statutes (state and federal), tribal laws, constitutional amendments, court rules, and administrative code provisions. It will be regularly updated and will soon include state attorney general opinions and summaries of court decisions related to victims' rights. Funding for the database was provided by the Office for Victims of Crime, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice.

Sexual Violence Against Native Women Report
In April, Amnesty International, a human rights organization, released a report on the criminal justice system's failure to protect Native American women from sexual violence. Titled "Maze of Injustice," the report features primary research of criminal justice personnel, Native victims and victims' advocates. It also includes a review of existing government and non-government reports, including studies by the U.S. Department of Justice, law review articles and media reports of sexual violence against Native American and Alaska Native women.

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