News From The Field

Prison Rape: Obama’s Program to Stop It

21 September 2012
BY David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow

In this article, Just Detention International’s David Kaiser and Lovisa Stannow analyze – and express their optimism about – the new national standards to end sexual violence in detention. These groundbreaking standards require detention facilities to adopt lifesaving provisions to protect inmates. They also put in place mechanisms to hold facilities accountable if they fail.

Right now, Just Detention International is working with corrections departments, the Department of Justice, and many others to ensure that the standards become the tool for real reform that they were meant to be. They are also helping other federal agencies, like the Department of Homeland Security, develop their own standards to stop rape in detention, as mandated recently by President Obama.

The new standards are a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to stop the crisis of sexual abuse behind bars. Now we must make sure that we seize it.

Jane Evelyn Atwood/Contact Press Images
Other Resources:

Report on Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails 
by the Review Panel on Prison Rape, edited by G.J. Mazza
Department of Justice, April 2012, 88 pp., available at

Sexual Victimization Reported by Former State Prisoners, 2008 
by Allen J. Beck and Candace Johnson
Bureau of Justice Statistics, May 2012, 51 pp., available at

National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape 
Department of Justice, June 2012, 128 pp., available at