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May 19, 2010

Evangelicals Call for Prison-Rape Reforms

Evangelicals are calling on the Obama administration to enact long-promised prison reforms, saying the incarcerated deserve protection from violence and rape.

In 2003, former president George W. Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which aimed to lower the estimated 13 percent of inmates sexually assaulted each year.

The bill called for the Department of Justice to research prison rape and requires prisons to establish prevention programs.

Now, the National Association of Evangelicals is urging the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission to follow up on the standards proposed.

NAE President Leith Anderson and Director of Government Affairs Galen Carey wrote on May 10 to Attorney General Eric Holder that "those behind bars deserve the same protections against violence as those on the outside."

The NAE pushed for the rape commission to adopt the standards from the 2003 act regardless of the government's tight budget, suggesting that the reforms will reduce recidivism and lead to cost savings.

In 2003, the bill drew support from varied religious and advocacy groups including the Southern Baptist Convention, the Christian Coalition of America, the NAACP and Human Rights Watch.

Like the NAE, the Human Rights Watch's Jamie Fellner reaffirmed the organization's stance in a Jan. 5 letter to Attorney General Holder -- saying that "tens of thousands of adults and juveniles are still sexually abused each year because officials have not instituted basic measures to protect them."

According to the Department of Justice Web site, Holder appointed members to the review panel on Jan. 1 in order to assist the Bureau of Justice Statistics in identifying common characteristics of prison systems and prisoners involved in prison rape.

Comments

Fanatastic news! Holder, who hasn't even read the Arizona bill and Obama, are busy defending illegal immigrants, but hey, unacceptable violence such as the noramlized vile rape in prison; is not a priority to them- since they are not shouting about it don't they?! Rapists and other violent offenders in prison, must be convicted further and heavily, for their crimes in prison - but the victims must be transferred to other prisons since their lives are likely to be threatened if filing complaints.The church must go all the way to defend such victims - but does not mean, the victims can manipulate such incidents to gain sympathy for their crimes and conviction.

Good work by the NAE. Bravo!

This is brilliant news for all those who believe in restorative justice.

We do not build G-d's kingdom on earth when we condone inhumanity to humankind.

If we allow thensickness of violence to contaminate our prisons we are perpetuating its multi-generational ills ad infinitum.

People who ahve eben degraded into brutes, thugs and violent marauders need not be reinforced in their aberrant behaviors, which are often reactive. Healing is possible for most souls, and when we strengthen the good in an individual, especially in one who has been a lost sheep, we strengthen the light in all the world.

This is a good example of a religious organization advocating for action on a problem that everyone should agree must be addressed. Lately the NAE has mired itself in more controversial issues on which Christians can and do disagree – looking more like a mainline Protestant lobby office than an organization ostensibly representing the broad spectrum of evangelicalism, a troubling development. In this case, though, they are on the mark. Kudos, NAE.

I am so happy to see Christians stand up for those in prisons, those marginalized by society and who have no voice. It does seem we have gotten so involved in the affairs of the world that we have forgotten what Jesus came to earth and died for.

Matthew 25:35-36 "for I was hungry and you gave Me food; I was naked and you clothed Me; I was sick and you visited Me; I was in prison and you came to Me".

:40 "Assuredly, I say to you, "Inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me". .