SPEAKERS CONTENTS INSERTS
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PRISON RAPE REDUCTION ACT OF 2003
SUBCOMMITTEE ON CRIME, TERRORISM,
AND HOMELAND SECURITY
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
ONE HUNDRED EIGHTH CONGRESS
APRIL 29, 2003
Page 2 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSerial No. 36
Printed for the use of the Committee on the Judiciary
Available via the World Wide Web: http://www.house.gov/judiciary
COMMITTEE ON THE JUDICIARY
F. JAMES SENSENBRENNER, Jr., Wisconsin, Chairman
HENRY J. HYDE, Illinois
HOWARD COBLE, North Carolina
LAMAR SMITH, Texas
ELTON GALLEGLY, California
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
WILLIAM L. JENKINS, Tennessee
CHRIS CANNON, Utah
SPENCER BACHUS, Alabama
JOHN N. HOSTETTLER, Indiana
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
MELISSA A. HART, Pennsylvania
JEFF FLAKE, Arizona
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
STEVE KING, Iowa
Page 3 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCJOHN R. CARTER, Texas
TOM FEENEY, Florida
MARSHA BLACKBURN, Tennessee
JOHN CONYERS, Jr., Michigan
HOWARD L. BERMAN, California
RICK BOUCHER, Virginia
JERROLD NADLER, New York
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
MELVIN L. WATT, North Carolina
ZOE LOFGREN, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
WILLIAM D. DELAHUNT, Massachusetts
ROBERT WEXLER, Florida
TAMMY BALDWIN, Wisconsin
ANTHONY D. WEINER, New York
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
LINDA T. SÁNCHEZ, California
PHILIP G. KIKO, Chief of Staff-General Counsel
PERRY H. APELBAUM, Minority Chief Counsel
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
Page 4 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCHOWARD COBLE, North Carolina, Chairman
TOM FEENEY, Florida
BOB GOODLATTE, Virginia
STEVE CHABOT, Ohio
MARK GREEN, Wisconsin
RIC KELLER, Florida
MIKE PENCE, Indiana
J. RANDY FORBES, Virginia
ROBERT C. SCOTT, Virginia
ADAM B. SCHIFF, California
SHEILA JACKSON LEE, Texas
MAXINE WATERS, California
MARTIN T. MEEHAN, Massachusetts
JAY APPERSON, Chief Counsel
SEAN MCLAUGHLIN, Counsel
ELIZABETH SOKUL, Counsel
KATY CROOKS, Counsel
PATRICIA DEMARCO, Full Committee Counsel
BOBBY VASSAR, Minority Counsel
C O N T E N T S
APRIL 29, 2003
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The Honorable Howard Coble, a Representative in Congress From the State of North Carolina, and Chairman, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
The Honorable Robert C. Scott, a Representative in Congress From the State of Virginia, and Ranking Member, Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security
The Honorable Frank R. Wolf, a Representative in Congress From the State of Virginia
Ms. Tracy A. Henke, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General, Office of Justice Programs, United States Department of Justice
Mr. Ashbel T. (A.T.) Wall, II, Director, Department of Corrections, State of Rhode Island
Mr. Charles J. Kehoe, President, American Correctional Association
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Mr. Frank A. Hall, Director, The Eagle Group
LETTERS, STATEMENTS, ETC., SUBMITTED FOR THE HEARING
Letter from Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM) with coalition signatures
Prepared statement of the Honorable Frank R. Wolf, a Representative in Congress From the State of Virginia
Prepared statement of the Honorable Sheila Jackson Lee, a Representative in Congress From the State of Texas
Letter from Charles W. Colson, Chairman, and Mark Early, President, Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM)
Prepared statement of Pat Nolan, President, Justice Fellowship
Letter from Glenn Goord, Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services, State of New York
Letter from Robert Stalder, Secretary, Department of Public Safety and Corrections, State of Louisiana
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Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
Prepared statement of Michael J. Horowitz, Senior Fellow, Hudson Institute
Letter from Harold W. Clarke, Director, Department of Correctional Services, State of Nebraska, with attachments
Letter from Cindy Struckman-Johnson, Ph.D., in response to letter from Harold W. Clarke, with attachments
Letter from Joseph D. Lehman, Secretary, Department of Corrects, State of Washington
Letter from Reginald A. Wilkinson, Ed.D., President, Association of State Correctional Administrators and Director, Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction
Letter from Alida V. Merlo, Ph.D., Professor, Indiana University of Pennsylvania
Letter from Martin D. Schwartz, Ph.D., Presidential Research Scholar, Professor of Sociology, Ohio University
Page 8 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Letter from Leanne Fiftal Alarid, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Progam Coordinator, Criminal Justice and Criminology, University of Missouri-Kansas City
PRISON RAPE REDUCTION ACT OF 2003
TUESDAY, APRIL 29, 2003
House of Representatives,
Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism,
and Homeland Security
Committee on the Judiciary,
The Subcommittee met, pursuant to notice, at 4:02 p.m., in Room 2237, Rayburn House Office Building, Hon. Howard Coble [Chairman of the Subcommittee] presiding.
Mr. COBLE. Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. The Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security will come to order.
This hearing is to examine the issue of sexual assault within Federal, State, and local correctional institutions and actions that are to be taken to address the issue.
Correctional institutions must deal with many issues that are unique to the population they house. H.R. 1707, the ''Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003,'' which has been introduced by my friends, Mr. Wolf and Mr. Scott, is intended to make prevention of sexual assault within correctional facilities a priority for Federal, State, and local institutions and require the development of national standards for detection, prevention, reduction and punishment of these incidents.
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There were over two million individuals incarcerated in this country by the end of 2001. Although most correctional facilities have procedures in place to protect inmates against violence from other inmates while they are incarcerated, often these procedures are inadequate. We know violence occurs, but there is very little data regarding the number of violent incidences that occur in correctional facilities, and even less data on the incidence of sexual assaults.
Estimates from different experts put the incidence of sexual assaults of inmates as high as 13 percent. However, many argue that these studies are not accurate and, in fact, the incidence is much lower. Regardless of percentages, it is difficult toit is generally agreed that these incidents have real consequences for the physical, emotional and psychological well-being of the prisoners who may one day be released back into society.
This legislation would require Federal, State and local governments to work with the Federal Bureau of Justice Statistics to study the number and effects of incidents of sexual assault in correctional facilities and hopefully provide accurate data for the first time on the actual number of incidents. It would also mandate that the State and local governments adopt and maintain compliance with the national standards developed by the Attorney General to be eligible for increases in grant funding.
For institutions that comply with the Federal Government standards and requests for information, this legislation would increase of amount of all grant funding a State or local government receives by 10 percent at the expense of those States who do not comply with such requests or adopt such standards. Additionally, because this legislation requires that the grant funds designated must aggregate a minimum of one billion, affecting approximately one-third of all grants at the Office of Justice Programs, many different grants for many entities may be affected.
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I am grateful to Mr. Wolf, author of the legislation, and the other witnesses appearing here today, because I think this is a problem that must be addressed. I want to assure Mr. Wolf and Mr. Scott that our Subcommittee staff is prepared to work in earnest with you and your staffs to address the concerns our witnesses have raised in their testimony to craft a workable and meaningful solution to this problem, which the gentleman's bill has aptly highlighted.
I am now pleased to recognize the distinguished gentleman from Virginia, the Ranking Member, Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing on the Prison Rape Reduction Act.
Of over two million people incarcerated today, it is estimated that one in ten, or roughly 200,000, have been raped. A 1996 study of Nebraska prisoners reflected 22 percent had been raped or pressured and intimidated into sexual activity against their will. A 2001 report by the Human Rights Watch documented ''shockingly high rates of sexual abuse in U.S. prisons.'' The research indicates that those subjected to sexual abuse in prisons are not abused just once but, on the average, nine more times during their incarceration. Youths in adult prisons are five times more likely to be raped than adults.
The effects of prison rape are devastating. The rape is recognized as a contributing factor to prison homicide, violence against staff, and institutional riots. Not only does it cause severe physical and psychological trauma to victims, it increases the transmission of HIV/AIDS, other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and hepatitis B and C, all of which exist at very high rates within U.S. prisons and jails.
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Society pays dearly for ignoring prison rape. It makes victimized inmates more likely to commit crimes when they are released, thus negating Federal programs designed to reduce the incidence of crime. Inmates, often nonviolent, first-time offenders, come out of prison rape experiences severely traumatized and leave prison not only more likely to commit crimes, but far more likely to commit violent crimes than when they entered.
The high incidence of rape within prison also leads to increased transmission of HIV, hepatitis and other diseases outside of prison, which in turn imposes threats and costs to all of society.
The Supreme Court held, in Farmer v. Brennan, that deliberate indifference to the risk of prison rape violates the 8th and 14th amendment to the United States Constitution. While conditions may be restrictive and even harsh, prison and jail officials must take reasonable measures to guarantee the safety of inmates.
Mr. Chairman, this bill requires prison accreditation organizations to examine prison rape prevention practices as a critical component of their accreditation reviews. The legislation has been carefully drawn to ensure comprehensive study and reporting of prison rape and reverse the perverse prison administration incentives that often make it exceedingly difficult for prison officials to engage in priority efforts to abate prison rape.
Mr. Chairman, I ask at this point unanimous consent to enter into the record a letter on the letterhead of Prison Fellowship Ministries, which includes the signatures of 35 organizations, diverse organizations such as the Religion Action Center on Reform Judaism, the Christian Coalition, the NAACP, the National Council of LaRaza, and many others. I ask unanimous consent that this be entered into the record.
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Mr. COBLE. Without objection.
[The material referred to follows:]
Mr. SCOTT. In the end, and perhaps more importantly, the effort to combat prison rape is a moral imperative. Prison rape is nothing short of torture, the infliction of severe emotional and physical pain as punishment and coercion. Long after bodies have healed, the emotional trauma, shame and stigma of brutal and repeated prison rapes lasts and embitters the individual. Thus, prison rape not only derails justice; it destroys human dignity.
We can do better than this as a society, and this bill ensures that we do. This is long overdue and I appreciate your willingness, Mr. Chairman, to move this matter further at this time.
I would also like to thank my colleague, Frank Wolf from Virginia, Chairman of the Commerce, Justice, State Appropriations Subcommittee, and chief sponsor of the bill, for his leadership and diligence in moving this matter forward.
I would also like to thank Michael Horowitz and Vinnie Sharaldi, leaders of an amazing coalition supporting this bill, for their vision, leadership and dedication.
I thank you again, Mr. Chairman, for working with this coalition to move this bill forward.
Page 13 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Scott.
Let me think aloud a minute, Frank, before I recognize you. Several weeks ago I met with the former Director of the Federal Bureau of Prisons, who has since retired. I told her that this issue very much concerns me. She, in fact, responded to me that she felt pretty good in the Federal system, that they have a pretty good handle on it, she said, that can detect prisoners who may well be vulnerable to these sort of inhumane attacks. I felt pretty good after having talked with her. I still know it's a problem.
Another feature that bothers meand I haven't even talked to Mr. Scott or Mr. Sensenbrenner about itis the overcrowding conditions in prisons, and the two may well go hand in hand. There may be a corollary. But the overcrowding conditions in Federal and State prisons, folks, is a time bomb ticking, particularly in State and local prisons.
I don't know, Frank, whether you plan to touch on that or not, but that's just food for thought, two matters that have plagued and troubled me for some time, and 50 State legislatures and perhaps the Congress may have to address the overcrowding which may well at least assuage some of the problems involving assaults.
Mr. Wolf, we're delighted to have you with us, the gentleman from the 10th District of Virginia. Mr. Scott and I usually adhere to the 5-minute rule inflexibly, but we will cut you a little slack, since you are a Virginia fellow and a friend of Mr. Scott. It's good to have you with us, Frank.
Mr. WOLF. I thank you, Mr. Chairman, for having the hearings, and I thank my colleague, Bobby Scott, for his support and effort and being a champion.
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I think what Mr. Scott said, of this being a moral imperative, is exactly what it is. I will be brief, and then I'm going to read something and then leave.
A study in Nebraska found that 22 percent of prisoners in that State were forced to have sex against their will while in prisonforced. Think of your son, or think of your cousin, or think of your brother, or think of your next door neighbor, thing of somebody like that. Experts say that approximately 13 percentand it's true, probably not as much in Federal prisons as in State prisons, and quite frankly, the Congress ought to look at this whole issue of sentencing guidelines, because we are forcing people into prison many times who ought not really be in prison. These numbers indicate the prison system has a problem.
This bill would address the problem in five ways: First, this legislation would allow officials to gather for the Bureau of Justice Statistics information about the extent of the problem of prison rape. There is probably not a lot of disagreement as to percentages. If it's 12, that's still high. If it's 22, that's absolutely high. If it's 1 percent, it's too high. Prison officials and policymakers must know, though, how pervasive prison rape is in our jails.
Secondly, the bill would make prison officials accountable for rape through a public review process. This is so private, there's nothing public, and therefore they can almost ignore it like it's not a problem. Prison officials must understand that what happens in prison to inmates matters. Containing prisoners behind four walls is not sufficient. They must be protected from violent rapes.
Third, a crediting agency would be required to examine the issue of prison rape when reviewing prisons. This will make prison officials further accountable for what happens in their prisons.
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Fourth, a commission will be established to study the problems of prison rape and recommend national standards to address the problem.
Finally, there would be modest grant programs to provide funds for innovative ways to launch prison rape prevention and prosecution programs.
It is important to mention that this bill deals with prison rape in ways that respect the States' rights. There are many awful stories, and I will close my testimony with paraphrasing. I would urge all of you to read thisand I will get copies for the Subcommittee. You will not be able to go through this because it will literally make you sick. But I will paraphrase one of the letters given, ''No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons'', the Human Rights Watch.
This individual says, ''I've been sentenced for a DUI offense, my third one. When I came to prison, I had no idea what to expect. Certainly none of this. I'm a tall male, who unfortunately has a small amount of feminine characteristics. And very shy. These characteristics have gotten me raped so many times I have had no more feelings physically. I have been raped at one time by seven men. I've had knives at my head and throat. I have fought and been beat so hard that I didn't even think I would see straight again.''
''One time when I refused to enter a cell, I was brutally attacked by staff and taken to segregation, though I had only wanted to prevent the same and worse by not being locked up with my cell mate.''
Page 16 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC ''There is no supervision after lockdown. I was given a conduct report. I explained to the hearing officer what the issue was. He told me off the record, he suggested that I find a man I would or could willingly have sex with to prevent these things from happening. I requested protective custody, only to be denied. It is not available here.''
He also said there was no where to turn, no where to turn, no where to run, and it was best for me to just accept things.
He ends by saying, ''I probably have AIDS now. I have great difficulty raising food to my mouth from shaking after nightmares . . .'' and he goes on. A.H. in Indiana.
The other one is, when we had a hearing over on the Senate sideand I'll end with this statement. A mother of a young child, 16 years old in Texas, who was repeatedly raped in prison, when her son reported the rapes, the prison officials he was told, ''rape happens every day. Learn to deal with it. It's no big deal.'' This 16-year-old, after repeatedly being abused and left to suffer by prison officials, hung himself. Why was he in prison? For setting a dumpster on fire.
This is a moral imperative. Mr. Scott is exactly right. This legislation cannot be delayed. The Justice Department is now on board, but they drug their heels on this. Each and every day, someone will be raped in a prison somewhere. In fact, each and every day many will be raped. We will get, the Members of this Committee, these stories, and after you read about five or six of them, you'll be sickened about what takes place. DUI, and now look what takes place.
Page 17 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I thank you for these hearings. I appreciate the willingness of you to move them. I want to reiterate the list of people that Mr. Scott said, from the Salvation Army to the NAACP, to Chuck Colson, who has forgotten more about this issue than anyone probably knows, the Southern Baptist Convention, the Religious Action Center for Reform and Judaism, and many others who are for this. So, with your good work and moving this quickly, I think we can really make a difference in wiping out thisI won't even call it a problemthis terrible thing that takes place in prisons.
Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
[The prepared statement of Mr. Wolf follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE FRANK WOLF, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF VIRGINIA
Thank you, Chairman Coble, for providing me with the opportunity to speak before the subcommittee on a matter which impacts the national prison system and our communitiesprison rape.
I also thank the subcommittee's ranking member, my Virginia colleague Bobby Scott, for introducing the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003 with me. Representative Scott has been a champion of this legislation. I value his partnership on this bill.
The Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003 addresses the growing and tragic problem of prison rape. In a 1996 study, an estimated 22 percent of prisoners in Nebraska were pressured or forced to have sex against their will while in prison. Experts have estimated that approximately 13 percent of inmates in the United States have been victims of a sexual assault. Part of the problem with addressing the issue of prison rape is that there is insufficient data and research into this problem which experts claim is growing. This legislation would establish a program to collect prison rape statistics and data in the Department of Justice, providing prison officials and policymakers with a clearer idea of how pervasive the horrific problem of prison rape has become.
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Victims of prison rape often suffer severe psychological trauma, and are sometimes infected with HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis, and other diseases. Treatment for these infectious diseases costs federal, state, and local jurisdictions additional dollars in administering their prison systems. Prison rape not only costs its victims their health and dignity, society also pays a price. When we turn a blind eye to prison rape, we say that we do not care that prisoners are treated inhumanely. That is a position which portrays national and local leaders as callous and uncaring.
This legislation would establish a National Prison Rape Reduction Commission which would conduct hearings on prison rape and would issue a final report. This commission is vital to provide national standards to reduce prison rape. Such a commission would send the message that we as a society will not accept prison rape.
Mr. Chairman, prison rape is not an abstract or theoretical problem. It has a human face.
There are thousands of tragic stories from victims about prison rape. I have attached to my remarks several stories of the toll prison rape too often takes on its victims.
The Congress can act to make sure that these vile and violent acts are reduced. The legislation before you today takes concrete steps toward doing just that. I believe in being tough on crime. But this has nothing to do with being tough on crime. It has everything to do with human dignity and ending deliberate indifference toward prison rape, maintaining order in prisons, and reducing social and economic costs to a society left to deal with physically and psychologically damaged former inmates.
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Allow me to end my statement with the story of a mother who testified on Capitol Hill last year. Her 16-year-old son was repeatedly raped in a Texas prison. When the son reported the rapes to prison officials, he was told ''(rape) happens everyday, learn to deal with it. It is no big deal.'' This 16-year-old, after being repeatedly abused and left to suffer by prison officials, hung himself.
Why was he in prison?
For setting a dumpster on fire.
Mr. Chairman and members of the subcommittee, I respectfully urge you to move this bill and make sure that no mother ever has to live with such a haunting story for the rest of her life.
I thank you for allowing me to speak before you today.
Excerpts from Inmates Testimony to Human Rights Watch
Stories from No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons, Human Rights Watch, 2001.
New inmates are often treated like property by older and more violent inmates. An inmate in New York writes . . .
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When a man finally gets his victim, he protects him from everyone else, buys him anything, the victim washes his clothes, his cell etc. In return the entire prison knows that this guy has a ''BITCH'' or ''girl.'' Now I've seen this happen many times. The response from the guards is ''the strong survive,'' ''who cares,'' or they join in the teasing and tormenting. But someone who is not ''protected'' has other problems. I've seen inmates attacked by two or three men at a time and forced to the floor, while three men hold him down the fourth rapes him. I've known two men who have hung themselves after this.
An inmate from Arkansas . . .
I had no choice but to submit to being Inmate B's prison wife. Out of fear for my life, I submitted to sex, and performing other duties as a woman, such as making his bed. In all reality, I was his slave, as the Officials of the Arkansas Department of Corrections under the 'color of law' did absolutly nothing.
An inmate from Minnesota writes . . .
Most of the prisoners who rape are spending 5 to life. And are a part of a gang. They look for a smaller weaker individual. And make that person into a homosexual then sell him to other inmates of gangs. Anywhere from a pack of cigarettes to 2 cartons. . . . No one cares about you or anyone else. If they show kindness or are trying to be helpful, it is only because they want something. And if they are offering you protection you can guarantee that their going to seek sexual favors. . . . When an inmate comes in for the first time and doesn't know anyone. The clicks and gangs. Watch him like Wolves readying there attacks. They see if he spends time alone, who he eats with. Its like the Wild Kingdom. Then they start playing with him, Checking the new guy out. (They call him fresh meat.)
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An inmate who was put in jail for a DUI offense . . .
I've been sentenced for a D.U.I offense. When I first came to prison, I had no idea what to expect. Certainly none of this. I'm a tall white male, who unfortunatly has a small amount of feminine characteristics. And very shy. These characteristics have got me raped so many times I have no more feelings physically. I have been raped by up to 5 black men and two white men at a time. I've had knifes at my head and throat. I had fought and been beat so hard that I didn't ever think I'd see straight again. One time when I refused to enter a cell, I was brutally attacked by staff and taken to segregation though I had only wanted to prevent the same and worse by not locking up with my cell mate. There is no supervision after lockdown. I was given a conduct report. I explained to the hearing officer what the issue was. He told me that off the record, He suggests I find a man I would/could willingly have sex with to prevent those things from happening. I've requested protective custody only to be denied. It is not available here. He also said there was no where to run to, and it would be best for me to accept things . . . I probably have AIDS now. I have great difficulty raising food to my mouth from shaking after nightmares or thinking to hard on all of this . . . I've laid down without physical fight to be sodomized. To prevent so much damage in struggles, ripping and tearing. Though in not fighting it caused my heart and spirit to be raped as well. Something I don't know if I'll ever forgive myself for.
One Florida inmate, serving less than one year in prison . . .
I was raped in prison from Feb 1991 through Nov 1991. From that it left me H.I.V. positive.
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Mr. COBLE. I'll pledge to you and Mr. Scott publicly that I will do all I can to help move this along, Frank. We thank you for being with us.
Mr. WOLF. Thank you very much, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. We will invite our panelists to come forward. I'm going to read some background. I think you all in the audience need to know some of the credentials that these panelists bring to the table.
Our first witness today is Miss Tracy Henke, Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs in the United States Department of Justice. Miss Henke was designated to serve by Attorney General Ashcroft in June 2001. Her position requires her to advise and assist the Assistant Attorney General to carry out all policy, programmatic, legal and managerial matters.
Prior to joining the Justice Department, Miss Henke worked in the Senate for Senator Christopher Bond of Missouri as a senior policy advisor, and for Senator Jack Danforth. Miss Henke received her degree in political science from the University of Missouri at Columbia.
Our next witness, Mr. A.T. Wall, is Director of the Department of Corrections for the State of Rhode Island. He will be representing the Association of State Correctional Administrators and the Council of State Governments.
Page 23 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Wall was awarded a bachelor of arts degree and juris doctorate from Yale University. He has a distinguished career in corrections, beginning his career in corrections in 1976 as a probation officer. He subsequently served as Assistant District Attorney in Manhattan, NY, and as a principal policy analyst to the Governor of Rhode Island for issues related to criminal, juvenile justice, corrections, child welfare, and mental health and retardation. From 1987 to 1991, Mr. Wall served as Assistant Director for Policy and Development in the Rhode Island Department of Corrections.
In 1991, he became second in command in the Department as Assistant Director of Administration, and in 2000 Mr. Wall was appointed Director of the Department of Corrections, which supervises over 3,600 pretrial and sentenced inmates in eight institutions and 27,000 offenders in probation, parole and community confinement. He also currently serves as chair of the program and training committee for the Association of State Correctional Administrators and is a member of the Board of Directors for the Council of State Governments.
Our third witness is Mr. Charles Kehoe, President of the American Correctional Association. Mr. Kehoe received a bachelor of arts in psychology and sociology from Lewis University, and a masters degree in social work from the University of Illinois at Chicago.
He began his career as a social worker for the State of Illinois, first counseling delinquent youth, and then working in child protective services. Mr. Kehoe moved to Baltimore to become Deputy Director of Juvenile Services for the State of Maryland. In 1989, he became Director of the Department of Youth and Family for the State of Virginia. Most recently, Mr. Kehoe served as a consultant for juvenile and criminal justice correctional facilities for a number of organizations, including his current position as Vice President for Business Development, New Century, which provides technical assistance to adult and juvenile facilities.
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Our final witness is Mr. Frank Hall, Director of the Eagle Group. Mr. Hall received his bachelor of arts from the University of North Carolina and a masters degree in public administration from Syracuse University's Maxwell School of Public Affairs.
Mr. Hall currently serves as a consultant on issues of public safety and new technologies. He has also served as Director of Special Projects for a private corrections company, providing services to both adult and juvenile offenders in the United States, Puerto Rico, and Great Britain.
Prior to that, Mr. Hall served as Commissioner of six State and local corrections departments, including Director of Juvenile Justice in New York, and most recently Commissioner of Corrections in Philadelphia.
It's good to have you all with us. I apologize for the lengthy introduction, but I think these panelists bring impressive credentials to the table and I felt that you all should know that.
We have written statements from each of you. I ask unanimous consent to submit into the record their entirety. As I said earlier, folks, Mr. Scott and I are sort of inflexible about red lights shining into your faces. We will not ''keelhaul'' you, however. But when you see the red light appear, that's a warning that your time is up.
Why don't we start with you, Miss Henke.
Page 25 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCSTATEMENT OF TRACY A. HENKE, PRINCIPAL DEPUTY ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL, OFFICE OF JUSTICE PROGRAMS, U.S. DEPARTMENT OF JUSTICE
Ms. HENKE. I will do my best, and I might speak fast, sir.
Chairman Coble, Congressman Scott, my name is Tracy Henke, and as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs, it is a pleasure to be here today to discuss H.R. 1707, the ''Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003.''
Mr. Chairman, H.R. 1707 focuses attention on the problem of sexual assaults, including rape and sodomy, that exists within the Nation's prisons and jails. Congressman Wolf and Congressman Scott have been diligent in their efforts to advance the discussions on prison rape, and have shown clear leadership by introducing the Prison Rape Reduction Act. The Department of Justice is pleased to participate in this hearing.
As you are aware, Mr. Chairman, the Justice Department supports the principles of this legislation. At the Department, we want to ensure that Federal prisons address, work to prevent, and punish those that commit any type of sexual assault in prison, and we want to encourage our colleagues who manage State and local prisons to do the same. We are committed to reaching a consensus which would comprehensively address and support efforts for preventing, prosecuting, and punishing sexual assault and rape within the Nation's prisons and jails. By working with all interested parties, we are confident that an agreement can be reached.
Page 26 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Department has worked with the sponsors and supporters of this legislation to provide technical assistance and information prior to its introduction. The Department remains committed to an ongoing dialogue that we believe will result in an effective and enforceable approach in the near future.
Mr. Chairman, as the Principal Deputy for the Office of Justice Programs, or OJP, it is important to discuss the impact that H.R. 1707 will have on OJP's formula grant programs which directly support State and local law enforcement and public safety activities. This is the issue which will be the focus of my comments.
As background, it is important to state that the Department has been working on the issue of prison rape for over 2 years. In the spring of 2001, the Department initiated the Prison Rape Working Group, which worked with supporters of the legislation and with organizations such as the American Correctional Association, or ACA. The Department drafted a framework for the new standards and worked with the ACA to have them adopted. The new standards are now in effect. The Department believes that, collectively, these new standards will assist in the prevention of prison rape and the effective handling of rape and sexual assaults that occurs in prisons and jails.
Without doubt, the Department's current efforts to address prison rape and sexual assault will be enhanced by the $13 million provided by the Congress in the Department's fiscal year 2003 appropriations act. Utilizing these funds, the Department will conduct research and statistical analysis on victims and victimization in correctional environments.
As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Chairman, the Justice Department is supportive of the principles of the legislation. However, some ambiguity and concern remains. We look forward to working with the sponsors and supporters of the legislation to craft a workable solution that achieves our common goal of preventing, prosecuting, and punishing sexual assault and rape in our Nation's correctional facilities.
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Specifically, one of the concerns that exists for OJP is the effect the incentive provisions of the legislation would have on existing grant programs, as well as the practical implementation of the necessary augmentation that would be required to underlying formulas.
As you are aware, under sections 8 and 11, States that adopt national standards would receive up to a 10 percent increase in their share of funding under any Federal formula grant program designated by the Attorney General as having a relationship to the failure to abate prison rape. This increase in funding would be achieved by reducing the shares of those States which do not comply. Programs that could potentially be impacted include the Byrne Formula, the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant, the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for Prisoners, the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grants, and Grants to Combat Violence Against Women.
As an example, let's look at sections 8 and 11 and the impact on the Byrne Formula as it relates tolet's use five States. California, Florida, Illinois, New York and Texas are in compliance with provisions of section 8, hypothetically. These States would each receive a 10 percent increase over their allocation. The total increase for these five States for fiscal year 2003, if the bill were enacted, currently would amount to $15.6 million. This represents a $15.6 million reduction in funds available to remaining States and territories. Under this hypothetical, Mr. Chairman, your State of North Carolina would lose $694,000. Congressman Scott's, Congressman Goodlatte's and Congressman Forbes' Commonwealth of Virginia would lost $607,000.
These numbers reflect a 10 percent augmentation in the formula, but the legislation provides for substantially greater augmentation which could result in larger changes to the underlying formulas.
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This hypothetical focuses only on the Byrne Formula Program and doesn't take into account potential reductions in other formula programs that the Office of Justice Programs administers or elsewhere within the Federal Government. The $497 million of the Byrne Program represents less than half, less than half of the minimum required to be designated by the Attorney General.
The proposed formula augmentations would reduce funding for State and local law enforcement, including first responders such as local police and sheriffs departments, for State prisons and local jails, potentially for substance abuse programs, and efforts to protect children from sexual exploitation and kidnapping.
I know my time is up, but real quickly, sir, another concern to the Department is that the Department believes that the integrity of the statistical collection and analysis by the Bureau of Justice Statistics be preserved. The legislation currently requires BJS not only to collect but also to analyze data and produce reports on that analysis in a very short timeframe. We recognize the need for quick access to this information, but it must be balanced by providing BJS the opportunity to accurately and sufficiently analyze the data collected.
Finally, the law authorizing BJS prohibits BJS from gathering data for any use other than statistical or research purposes. By requiring BJS to identify facilities ''where the incidence of prison rape is significantly avoidable,'' the legislation calls for BJS to make judgments about what level of prison rape is ''significantly avoidable''. This responsibility goes beyond BJS' authorized statistical role.
Page 29 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. Chairman, I appreciate the time afforded and I look forward to any questions that you or Congressman Scott might have.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Henke follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF TRACY A. HENKE
Chairman Coble, Congressman Scott, members of the subcommittee, my name is Tracy Henke, and as Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department's Office of Justice Programs, it is a pleasure to be here today to discuss H.R. 1707, the ''Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003.''
Mr. Chairman, H.R. 1707 focuses attention on the problem of sexual assault, including rape and sodomy, that exists within the nation's prisons and jails. Congressman Wolf and Congressman Scott have been diligent in their efforts to advance the discussions on prison rape and have shown clear leadership by introducing the ''Prison Rape Reduction Act.'' The Department of Justice is pleased to participate in this hearing.
As you are aware, Mr. Chairman, the Justice Department supports the principles of this legislation. At the Department we want to ensure that Federal prisons address, work to prevent, and punish those that commit any type of sexual assault in prison, and we want to encourage our colleagues who manage state and local prisons to do the same. We are committed to reaching a consensus which would comprehensively address and support efforts for preventing, prosecuting, and punishing sexual assault and rape within the nation's prisons and jails. By working with all interested parties we are confident that an agreement can be reached.
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The Department has worked with the sponsors and supporters of this legislation to provide technical assistance and information prior to its introduction. In addition, the Department has provided information regarding concerns with the proposed language of the legislation. The Department remains committed to an ongoing dialogue that we believe will result in an effective and enforceable legislative product in the near future.
Mr. Chairman, as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General for the Office of Justice Programs, it is important to discuss the impact H.R. 1707 will have on OJP's formula grant programs which directly support State and local law enforcement and public safety activities. This issue will be the focus of my comments.
As background, it is important to state that the Department has been working on the issue of prison rape for over two years. In the spring of 2001, the Department initiated the Prison Rape Working Group which worked with supporters of the legislation and with organizations such as the American Correctional Association (ACA). The Department approached the ACA and requested that they consider adopting national standards to deal with prison rape. At the ACA's request, the Department drafted a framework for the new standards and worked with the ACA to have them adopted. The new standards have been adopted and are now in effect. Some of the new standards are: 1) providing mandatory training courses to corrections staff in handling rape and sexual assault in both adult and juvenile facilities; 2) written policies and procedures addressing the handling of potential offenders, as well as intervention and treatment; 3) written policies and procedures requiring documented investigations of assaults and threats; 4) written policies and procedures which ensure that sexual contact between prison staff and inmates is prohibited and subject to administrative and criminal sanctions; and 5) ensuring that victims of sexual assault are referred to an appropriate treatment facility, receive appropriate mental evaluation and counseling, and if necessary, are referred for long-term follow-up care. The Department believes that, collectively, these new standards will assist in the prevention of prison rape and the effective handling of rape and sexual assault that occurs in prisons and jails.
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Without doubt, the Department's current efforts to address prison rape and sexual assault will be enhanced by the $13 million provided by the Congress in the Department's Fiscal Year 2003 appropriations act. Utilizing these funds, the Department will conduct research and statistical analysis on victims and victimization in correctional environments.
Specifically, OJP's Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) has developed plans to conduct a statistical analysis on sexual assault victims and victimization that measures the prevalence of that victimization. OJP's National Institute of Justice (NIJ) will be sponsoring research focusing on sexual assault offenders and offenses in prisons and jails. This research will provide BJS with information it will need to adjust their prevalence estimates to account for outside factors influencing the incidence of sexual assault in correctional environments. Working collaboratively, BJS and NIJ will empanel a group of recognized subject matter experts from the research and practitioner communities to assist both agencies in defining the various characteristics and factors involved in sexual assault in ways that will allow their objective measurement. We need solid research so that we can determine what steps will be most effective to root this horrible problem out of our prisons and jails.
As I mentioned earlier, Mr. Chairman, the Justice Department is supportive of the principles of the legislation; however, ambiguity and concern over just a few provisions still exist. For instance, we believe that there are better ways to address compliance issues associated with the abatement of prison rape than adjustments to formula grant programs as they are proposed in the current bill. We look forward to working with the sponsors and supporters of the legislation to craft a workable solution that achieves our common goal of preventing, prosecuting, and punishing sexual assault and rape in our nation's correctional facilities.
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Specifically, one of the concerns that exists for OJP is the effect the incentive provisions of the legislation would have on existing grant programs as well as the practical implementation of the necessary augmentation that would be required to underlying formulas.
As you are aware, under Sections 8 and 11, States that adopt national standards would receive up to a ten percent increase in their share of funding under any Federal formula grant program designated by the Attorney General as having a relationship to the failure to abate prison rape. This increase in funding would be achieved by reducing the shares of those States which do not comply. We have already tentatively identified twenty formula programs administered just by the Office of Justice Programs which could be impacted by these provisions. These programs include the Byrne Formula Grant Program, the Local Law Enforcement Block Grant Program, the Residential Substance Abuse Treatment for State Prisoners Grant Program, the Juvenile Accountability Incentive Block Grant Program, and Grants to Combat Violence Against Women.
As an example, consider the impact of Sections 8 and 11 on State allocations under the Byrne Formula Grant Program. As you know, under the Byrne Program, the Office of Justice Programs, through its component, the Bureau of Justice Assistance, makes awards directly to States. These funds are used by States and also sub-awarded by States to local governments. Byrne funds can be used by States and localities for a broad array of public safety activities including funding police and sheriff departments, correctional facilities, court systems, and drug enforcement efforts. In Fiscal Year 2003, Congress appropriated approximately $497 million in Byrne Formula funds. Assuming that H.R. 1707 was enacted into law as it is currently written, let's look, as a hypothetical, at five States: if California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas were in compliance with the provisions of Section 8, these States, under the incentive provisions of Sections 8 and 11, would each receive a ten percent increase over their allocation. The total increase for these five States would amount to $15.6 million, or three percent of the entire Fiscal Year 2003 appropriation. This also represents a $15.6 million reduction in funds available to the remaining States and territories. Under this hypothetical Mr. Chairman, your State of North Carolina would lose $694,000; Congressman Scott's, Congressman Goodlatte's, and Congressman Forbes' Commonwealth of Virginia would lose $607,000; Congressman Chabot's State of Ohio would lose $952,000; Congressman Green's State of Wisconsin would lose $454,000; Congressman Pence's State of Indiana would lose $513,000; and Congressman Meehan's State of Massachusetts would lose $536,000. These numbers reflect a ten percent augmentation in the formula, but the legislation provides for substantially greater augmentation which would obviously result in larger changes to the underlying formulas and to the amounts each State would be entitled to.
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Mr. Chairman, this hypothetical focuses only on the Byrne Formula Program, and does not take into account potential reductions in the other nineteen formula programs the Office of Justice Programs administers or any other formula grant program throughout the Federal government. The $497 million of the Byrne Program represents less than half of the minimum total Federal funds that the Attorney General must identify under Section 11 for formula augmentation. Ultimately, the actual reduction in funds that States could see would be substantially more than just the Byrne program.
The proposed formula augmentations would reduce funding for State and local law enforcement, including first responders such as local police and sheriffs departments, for State prisons and local jails, local narcotics task forces, shelters for battered and sexually abused women, substance abuse programs, efforts to protect children from sexual exploitation and kidnaping, and for numerous other State and local efforts. We must remain cognizant of the financial demands on State and local governments and the effects that unexpected changes in the availability of formula funds would have.
The language of the legislation would present difficulties for the Department in implementation because of ambiguities in allocating the incentive funds. For instance, consider the example of both the State of North Carolina and the City of Raleigh being eligible for incentive awards. If the Byrne program is identified as a relevant program, OJP can easily increase North Carolina's share of Byrne funds because the formula funds are awarded directly to States. However, OJP does not award Byrne funds directly to units of local governments. States are responsible for making decisions on how to subaward Byrne funds to local governments. It is unclear how OJP could increase Raleigh's share of Byrne funds.
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It is also important to note another concern the Department has related to the statistical collection and analysis required by the legislation. It is of the utmost importance to the Department that the integrity of the statistical collection and analysis be preserved. The legislation currently requires BJS not only to collect, but also to analyze data and produce reports on that analysis in a very short time. We recognize the need for quick access to this information, but it must be balanced by providing BJS the opportunity to analyze accurately and sufficiently the data collected.
Finally, the law authorizing BJS prohibits BJS from gathering data for any use other than statistical or research purposes. By requiring BJS to identify facilities ''where the incidence of prison rape is significantly avoidable,'' the legislation calls for BJS to make judgments about what level of prison rape is ''significantly avoidable.'' This responsibility goes beyond BJS' authorized statistical role.
Mr. Chairman, the Justice Department shares your interest in reaching consensus upon an effective and enforceable approach to the problem of prison rape. I personally commit to working with the Committee, the sponsors, and supporters of this legislation to achieve our shared goal of effective prevention, prosecution, and punishment of prison rape. Again, thank you for the opportunity to appear before the subcommittee today. I would be happy to answer any question the members of the subcommittee might have.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Miss Henke.
I said Mr. Scott and I were inflexible. I'm going to violate that now. We gave you 6 minutes, so I'll give the rest of you six as well, if you need it.
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STATEMENT OF ASHBEL T. WALL, II, DIRECTOR, DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS, STATE OF RHODE ISLAND; ON BEHALF OF THE ASSOCIATION OF STATE CORRECTIONAL ADMINISTRATORS, AND THE COUNCIL OF STATE GOVERNMENTS
Mr. WALL. Thank you, Chairman Coble, Representative Scott, Representative Jackson Lee, I am A.T. Wall. I'm the Director of the Rhode Island Department of Corrections and I'm here on behalf of the Council of State Governments, which represents all elected and appointed State officials, and also the Association of State Correctional Administrators, the professional association for the 50 Directors of Corrections and the Administrators of Nation's largest jail systems.
We appreciate very much the bipartisan concern regarding sexual assault in correctional facilities. After all, protecting inmates and staff, as well as the public safety, are at the core of our correctional mission, a mission I have upheld since I began in this profession some 29 years ago.
We in corrections know that sexual assault occurs. We support the objectives of this bill. We want to prevent prison rape, assess the extent to which it occurs, respond swiftly and effectively, and we recognize this bill represents a moderate approach to dealing with the issue. We also recognize that, as corrections officials, we are accountable for the operations of our systems, including the implementation of the initiatives that come about as a result of this legislation.
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There is some provisions that we, as directors of corrections, believe would impede as opposed to assisting the efforts to reduce prisoner rape. We are also concerned that the bill not allocate significant resources to combat prison rape while overlooking another major issue in corrections that has widespread implications for the public safety.
Some particular changes that we would like to propose to the bill: first, national statistics. The Department of Justice is assigned to do a statistical report. We have two concerns. One is definitional issues, what constitutes rape in a correctional context. Sorting out consensual sex in a prison context can be complicated. The bill is silent as to whether sexual assault includes staff-on-inmate sexual assault, as well as inmate-on-inmate sexual assault.
We are also concerned that the bill draw on a wide variety of data sources beyond simply looking at self reports and inmate surveys. So we would recommend that the bill direct the Department of Justice to seek guidance from an advisory group in working out definitions and survey techniques, the group to include not only corrections administrators but prosecutors, police, victim advocates and former inmates.
Second, the review panel. The review panel is charged with holding public hearings, and administrators who are from the random sample selected by BJS and whose rates of sexual assault exceed the median will be brought forward to testify why their facilities have high rates. The concern that we have is that the panel should be charged with developing an approach to analyzing the data by interviewing the victims, administrators from a random sample of selected facilities surveyed and not simply rely on the public hearing approach but, rather, take a broader approach if the goal is to understand the context and causes of the issue.
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Third, the national standards. We would like to assure that an accrediting organization such as ACA, that have done much work in this area, are consulted as part of the reviewing of the standards.
Fourth, the incentives to testify and comply. Those have been covered by Miss Henke. We're concerned that, in fact, as written, the language of the bill, which is intended to reward jurisdictions that are taking serious steps to combat sexual assault in prison and holding accountable those other systems, won't achieve those objectives for some of the reasons that Miss Henke identified.
We applaud the commitment to helping us protect inmates. We are also deeply concerned that a Federal initiative not ignore an emerging crisis in our field that has major implications for the safety of staff, inmates, and the general public.
As you well knowin fact, Chairman Coble, you alluded to it to some degree in your introductory remarksnearly unprecedented fiscal problems are prompting governors to look at dramatic cuts to corrections' budgets. There are three ways to cut correctional budgets. One is to eliminate programs. The fact of the matter is, they're already thread-bear. There is not a lot of money to be gained that way.
The second is in operations, looking at staffing and security and making cuts there. The problem with that, of course, is that will compromise the safety of inmates as well as staff and, frankly, it will compromise the very objectives that H.R. 1707 seeks to achieve.
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The third way to get a handle on correctional costs is by managing correctional populations differently, limiting the rates of growth, taking a look at the sheer numbers of people who are incarcerated in facilities. In managing growth in corrections, we are engaging in high-stakes decisions as we look at who's in there, how long they should stay, how well prepared they are for release, who should be supervised in the community as opposed to in custody, and how they should be supervised. Those are very important decisions and the risk is that they're going to be made without resources to determine that they are informed decisions. Right now, there is the risk that they will be made nearly blind, that States will be playing Russian roulette with major public safety implications.
What we are looking for is legislation to address this acute need for immediate targeted technical assistance in managing correctional costs without compromising public safety. We don't want to simply release hundreds of inmates as has been done in other jurisdictions. We need data, we need expertise, we need forms of technical assistance, such as the center that is established and DOJ would provide.
So thank you for giving us the opportunity to present specific, practical changes that will help correctional administrators combat rape. We hope that modifying the legislation will help us considerably to protect staff and inmates and ensure that deep cuts don't jeopardize the safety of the public as we look at correctional issues. We look forward to working with a truly impressive coalition that is organized so that we can incorporate our recommendations into the bill.
Thank you very much.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Wall follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF ASHBEL T. WALL, II
Good afternoon. Thank you Chairman Coble and Ranking Member Scott for inviting me to testify regarding H.R. 1707, The Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003.
My name is Ashbel T. Wall, and I am the Director of Corrections for the State of Rhode Island. Our corrections system is unified, meaning it includes both prisons and jails. Our average daily population is 3,500 inmates, housed in 8 institutions, and we receive about 17,000 commitments a year.
I am testifying today on behalf of the Council of State Governments (CSG) and the (ASCA) Association of State Correctional Administrators. CSG is a membership association serving all elected and appointed and state government officials; ASCA represents the 50 state corrections directors and the administrators of the largest jails systems.
Our organizations appreciate very much the bipartisan concern among members in Congress about sexual assault in corrections facilities. Protecting staff and inmates alike, in addition to maintaining community safety, is the core of our mission.
We know sexual assault occurs in prisons and jails, including our facilities in Rhode Island. We also know this is an issue that has been difficult to measure in our state, as well as nationally, let alone to compare rates among states and counties.
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For these reasons, we support most of the objectives of H.R. 1707: we want to prevent prisoner rape; we want to assess the extent to which it occurs in our systems; and we want to respond swiftly and effectively when inmates are sexually assaulted.
We appreciate efforts to date by sponsors of the bill to incorporate in H.R. 1707 many changes that the corrections community recommended to earlier versions of this bill. There are, however, still some provisions remaining in H.R. 1707 that would impederather than assistcorrections administrators' efforts to reduce sexual assault of inmates and end it altogether. We also are concerned that the bill allocates significant resources to combat prisoner rape while overlooking those issues in corrections that represent the greatest risk to the public in general.
My testimony will explain the concerns elected officials and policymakers serving Republican and Democratic governors alike have about the bill. I will also suggest changes to particular provisions in the bill that we believe would improve the legislation and make it state-friendly without compromising its purpose.
1. NATIONAL PRISON RAPE STATISTICS
Recommendation: Provide additional guidance to the authors of the study to ensure it reflects an accurate, comprehensive assessment of inmate sexual assault.
Like the supporters of the bill, we think a report prepared by the Department of Justice that assesses the extent to which prisoner rape occurs in prisons and jails across the country would be useful. The study, as it is currently described in H.R. 1707, however, would unlikely yield such a document.
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The legislation overlooks important considerations that will need to be made in developing and designing the study. First, the bill does not sufficiently define what constitutes rape in a correctional facility. Sorting out what is and is not consensual sex in a prison is a complicated matter. Second, H.R. 1707 does not explicitly state whether the study should capture information about staff-on-inmate sexual assault, which, itself, is a complex issue. There is no such thing as consensual sex between staff and an inmate; by statutes, such incidents are a crime in nearly every state. The bill drafters need to state explicitly whether these data should be included in the study. Third, the legislation minimizes the importance of drawing upon data sources other than inmate surveys only.
We recommend the bill instruct DOJ to seek guidance regarding each of the above issues from an advisory group that would include corrections administrators, prosecutors, police chiefs, victim advocates, and former inmates. That way, we can be confident that the BJS study reflects an accurate and comprehensive assessment of prisoner rape in correctional facilities.
2. REVIEW PANEL ON PRISON RAPE
Recommendation: Request testimony or input from administrators who represent a random selection of institutions
Like the supporters of H.R. 1707, we think it would be useful for the Review Panel to hear from (and question) corrections administrators with varying rates of sexual assault in their facilities; such testimony should help to inform the annual report that DOJ issues. Instead of generating a constructive exchange, however, the hearing process that H.R. 1707 currently proposes would polarize discussion.
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According to the legislation, corrections administrators summoned to testify would represent facilities that appear to have high rates of sexual assault. In fact, these corrections administrators would represent only those facilities with a high rate of sexual assault among the small group of institutions randomly selected for the survey. Consequently, corrections directors would likely devote much of their testimony to an explanation of why their participation in the hearing inaccurately suggests that they operate the most dangerous institutions in the country.
For these reasons, we recommend that the panel be charged with developing an approach to analyzing the data captured through the study and interviewing various experts and victims and administrators from a random selection of facilities surveyed ensures that hearings will be constructive and useful.
3. NATIONAL STANDARDS
Recommendation: Require the Commission to consult accrediting organizations that currently have standards (or are in the process of developing such standards) on sexual assault
The members and staff of accrediting organizations such as the American Correctional Association have spent time and resources preparing standards that address issues relating to sexual assault and the conditions of a facility or system that facilitate sexual assault. Nevertheless, the bill does not ensure that these accrediting organizations will be consulted on the development of the Commission's standardsor even recognize that these organizations already have, or are in the process of revising or developing, such standards. The National Prison Rape Reduction Commission (which is distinct from the Panel that the bill also establishes) should be directed to consult accrediting organizations that currently have standards on sexual assault, and to review existing standards and standards under development, before making its final report.
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4. INCENTIVES TO TESTIFY AND COMPLY WITH COMMISSION STANDARDS
Recommendation: Limit the instances in which jurisdictions would be eligible for an increase and narrow the definition of the ''source of funds for increases'' from which the 10 percent reward will be drawn
We appreciate that the supporters of the bill would like to reward corrections administrators who adopt the standards developed by the National Commission. We also recognize that the members of Congress want to see administrators of systems with seemingly high rates of prisoner rape held accountable. Two examples illustrate, however, however, that, as currently written, the bill would achieve neither of these objectives effectively.
First, the bill provides an increase in federal grant funding to jurisdictions represented at the hearing convened by the National Review Panel. Because representatives of those jurisdictions that have seemingly high rates of prisoner rape are asked to testify, the bill appears to reward systems that do not necessarily merit an increase. Furthermore, funds for this increase would be drawn from ''any [entity] not entitled to increases under this act.'' Accordingly, it is conceivable that a jurisdiction would lose federal funding only because it had the ''misfortune'' of not being included in the random sample.
Second, the universe of DOJ grants that a jurisdiction could see reduced includes funding support for a broad spectrum of issue-areas, such as victim compensation and community policing, which are completely beyond the scope of correctional administrators' authority. As a result, the state and local government officials who would be held accountable for reducing prisoner rape would be those who are powerless to ensure compliance with the standards imposed by the legislation.
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5. THE EMERGING CRISIS IN CORRECTIONS
Recommendation: Make available limited, immediate, assistance, including peer-to-peer technical assistance, to jurisdictions seeking to cut corrections costs without compromising the safety of inmates, staff, or the public in general.
While we applaud Congress' commitment to helping us protect inmates, we are deeply concerned that this federal initiative ignores an emerging crisis in corrections that has major implications for inmates and for the safety of staff and the general public. Nearly unprecedented fiscal problems are prompting governors and legislatures to recommend dramatic cuts to corrections budgets. Corrections administrators trying to find such savings have three options. First, we could reduce spending on institutional security, but that would compromise the safety of inmates (not to mention staff)which is precisely what H.R. 1707 intends to increase. Second, we could cut programming expenses. But prison and jail-based services are already threadbare. They offer little or no potential for savings. And, given that nearly every inmate will return to the community, further gutting of these programs will impact public safety adversely.
Really, the only way savings of the scale that governors and legislatures are looking for from our agencies can be achieved only by managing our prison population differently. In some states, that may mean limiting the rate of the system's growth. Accordingly, state officials must soon make high-stakes decisions about their prison populationwho is in there, how long they should stay, how they are prepared for release, and how they are supervised in the community. Yet policymakers are without the resources to ensure their decisions are informed ones. As a result, with budgetary pressures in the states as acute as they are, state and local government officials will need to make nearly blind decisionsRussian Roulette with major public safety implications.
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If Congress is to pass any legislation that addresses the safety of inmates, the accountability of corrections administrators, and the efficiency and effectiveness of federal expenditures through existing programs (as H.R. 1707 does), it needs to address state and local government officials' acute need for immediate, targeted, peer-to-peer assistance that would assist them manage corrections costs effectively without compromising public safety. We are aware of states, such as Kentucky, that in recent months, have responded to extraordinary fiscal pressures by releasing hundreds of offenders from prison, some of whom subsequently committed high-profile crimes, generating a firestorm of public criticism. There are other very recent developments in states that we all hope to avoid: in California, legislators who voted for a bill making certain felons eligible for release, later asked the governor later to veto the legislation because they realized that it could be applied to some serious and violent offenders. These are experiences that other states could avert if they had the benefit of data, expertise, other forms of technical assistance, and information about what has worked in other jurisdictions across the country.
As this testimony reflects, we believe there are some specific, very practical changes that can be made to this legislation that would help corrections administrators across the country combat prisoner rape. More importantly, modifying the legislation as we have suggested would help us considerably with our efforts to protect staff and inmates alike and ensure that deep cuts imposed on corrections agencies do not jeopardize the safety of the general public. We look forward to working with members of the Committee, your staff, and the impressive coalition of organizations supporting the bill to incorporate these recommendations in the bill. Thank you.
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Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Wall.
STATEMENT OF CHARLES J. KEHOE, PRESIDENT, AMERICAN CORRECTIONAL ASSOCIATION
Mr. KEHOE. Thank you, Mr. Chairman. I am Charles Kehoe, President of the American Correctional Association. I wish to thank you and Ranking Member Scott for inviting us here today to discuss H.R. 1707, the ''Prison Rape Reduction Act.''
I would like to begin by commending the work of Representative Frank Wolf and Representative Bobby Scott on this issue. As a long-time Virginian, I have long admired their dedicated service to the Commonwealth and to our Nation.
I am here today to represent the American Correctional Association. ACA was founded in 1870 and is the Nation's only professional association representing all facets of corrections. It has nearly 19,000 members in all 50 States and more than 40 foreign countries. We promote broad-based public policies on crime and corrections, develop professional standards, administer a national accreditation program, and provide educational programs for corrections professionals at all levels. In short, we are a multi-disciplinary organization of corrections professionals.
In his remarks introducing the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003, Representative Wolf said prison rape has nothing to do with being tough on crime; it has to do with making our communities safer, reducing recidivism, and controlling the spread of communicable diseases. I agree completely with Congressman Wolf. In fact, those are central tenants of the American Correctional Association, and we wholeheartedly support the efforts of Mr. Wolf and Mr. Scott, as well as all others involved in their quest to reduce the incidence of prison rape.
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The ACA supports the objectives of H.R. 1707. We believe that there should be a zero tolerance standard for the incidence of prison rape. We believe that prison officials should make the prevention of prison rape a priority. We want to ensure that prison officials are accountable for what goes on within their institutions. We thank the bill's sponsors for incorporating into H.R. 1707 many changes that the corrections profession recommended in earlier versions of the legislation. However, there remain a few provisions of H.R. 1707 about which we retain some reservations and would like to see clarified.
The strength of the ACA is in the fact that we are the only organization that accredits total correctional facility operations, including health care. We have in excess of 1,600 facilities and programs that are involved in the process.
Our profession has, within the past 3 years, adopted newer and more meaningful performance-based standards, standards that better define the value of what we do and how we do it.
The ACA Standards Committee, in January of 2003, finalized the adoption of several specific standards that address sexual misconduct and prison rape. First, we revise the intake screening procedures that would require inmates to be specifically identified who are vulnerable or have tendencies to act out sexually aggressive behavior.
It would also require that investigations be conducted and documented whenever there is an assault or threat of a sexual assault. And it would require that offenders identified who have histories of sexual assaultive behavior are assessed by mental health or other professionals as such.
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Those with a history of assaultive behavior would be identified, monitored and counseled.
Lastly, the standards would require that offenders at risk for victimization are identified, monitored and counseled.
H.R. 1707 would establish the National Prison Rape Reduction Commission, established to study prison rape, report findings to Congress, and propose national standards for prevention. However, there is no guarantee that those, including the ACA, who have unique experience in the development and implementation of standards, will be consulted in the course of the Commission's work.
We would like to see a requirement that the Commission consult entities involved in accreditation in the development of national standards for the reduction of prison rape.
H.R. 1707 also calls for States to seek re-accreditation every 2 years. We have found it to be more economical and more efficient to have a 3-year accreditation process and would so recommend that for your consideration.
H.R. 1707 creates a Review Panel on Prison Rape to hear from correctional administrators whose departments are experiencing high rates of prison rape. The goals of the panel are no different than those of ACA accreditationto ensure that corrections is open and accountable for the implementation of standards to prevent prison rape.
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The legislation establishes this panel with three individuals. However, the legislation provides little guidance for this panel. We believe the panel should be structured in such a way to ensure that the panel promotes a dialogue which allows for a true understanding of the incidence of prison rape and which aids in the study and determination of the true impact of prison rape.
We, therefore, recommend that a majority of the members of the Review Panel on Prison Rape be drawn from the law enforcement community and have expertise in the operation of correctional facilities.
H.R. 1707 also calls for a study of the incidence of prison rape. However, it overlooks an important fact that needs to be taken into account. First, the legislation as drafted does not adequately identify what constitutes rape in a correctional facility. Issues surrounding consensual sex are not addressed, and further defining what is meant by prison rape is necessary.
Secondly, the legislation does not specifically address whether prison rape would address staff-on-inmate sexual assault, as Director Wall mentioned earlier. Thus, we would recommend that the Department of Justice, in the development of a study relating to the incidence of prison rape, consult correctional administrators, prosecutors, victim advocates, former inmates and others who have direct institutional knowledge, in addition to the self-reporting by inmates.
As you well know, State and local correctional agencies across the country are grappling with shrinking budgets. In this environment, the efforts of the supporters of the bill to reward correctional administrators for their efforts in meeting the requirements of this bill are commendable. We appreciate the extent to which the sponsors of H.R. 1707 have gone to ensure that this bill does not place unfunded mandates upon the States.
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Specifically, we appreciate the inclusion of language that says ''significant additional costs compared to the costs presently expended by Federal, State, and local prison authorities'' should be imposed. However, we believe that this term needs to be further defined. Thus, we recommend that the legislation be revised to define what, if any, further costs the implementation of national standards can place upon States and localities without providing Federal funding for the implementation of the standards.
I'm going to skip ahead. Actually, I think I'm out of time.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Kehoe.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, could he just read the recommendations? Since you have a couple of sentences on each one, if you can just read the recommendations, I would appreciate it.
Mr. KEHOE. All right.
We have recommendations relating to the manner in which funding will be distributed to States under the legislation, and reservations relating to the designation of programs for which funding for the implementation of this legislation be drawn. The current writing provides for an increase in Federal grant funding to jurisdictions represented at the hearings convened by the Panel. The legislation calls for these jurisdictions to be selected by among those included in a random sample of jurisdictions. Thus, those jurisdictions that are not a part of the random sample used to determine the incidence of prison rape would be ineligible for funding under the provisions of this legislation. In effect, this approach effectively rewards jurisdictions that appear to have a high incidence of rape, while reducing the funding available to jurisdictions that are not a part of the random sample.
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To simplify, if all 50 States are in compliance with the provisions of H.R. 1707, it would reward the 10 States that are chosen from the sample and at the same time 50 other States would not be so designated. Under the legislation, the 10 States chosen may be eligible for a 10 percent increase in funding from certain formula grant programs. Does this does mean that the 40 States not chosen at random are not eligible for an increase and could actually see decreased Federal assistance?
Funding for the implementation of H.R. 1707 is to come from the existing universe of formula grant programs, most of which are completely beyond the scope of correctional administrators' authority. In addition, relatively few DOJ grant programs are designated to provide aid exclusively to corrections. thus, other elements of State and local law enforcement could see reduced funding as a result of this legislation.
I must ask whether the funding from victims' assistance programs, community policing or drug treatment programs could be used to fund the implementation of this act. Even more alarming is that as the legislation is currently written, the term ''formula grant programs'' could go beyond DOJ programs that impact law enforcement and corrections. Given the billion dollar minimum included in the legislation, it is likely that you would have to go outside of the Department of Justice programs. Thus, the Attorney General
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Kehoe, why don't you suspend.
Mr. KEHOE. All right, Mr. Chairman.
Page 52 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC [The prepared statement of Mr. Kehoe follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF CHARLES J. KEHOE
Thank you for the opportunity to be here today. I am Charles Kehoe, President of the American Correctional Association. I wish to thank Chairman Coble and Ranking Member Scott for inviting me here today to discuss H.R. 1707, the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003.
I would like to begin today by commending the work of Representative Frank Wolf and Representative Bobby Scott on this issue. As a former Director of the Virginia Department of Youth and Family Services, and a long-time citizen of Virginia, I have long admired their dedicated service to the Commonwealth.
I am here today to represent the American Correctional Association (ACA). ACA was founded in 1870 and is the nation's only professional association representing all facets of corrections. ACA has nearly 19,000 individuals members from all 50 states and more than 40 countries. We promote broad-based public policies on crime and corrections, develop professional standards, administer a national accreditation program and provide educational programs for corrections officials at all levels. In short, we are a multi-disciplinary organization of professionals representing all facets of corrections and criminal justice, including federal, state, and military correctional facilities and prisons, county jails and detention centers, probation/parole agencies, and community corrections/halfway houses. ACA members bring a broad base of expertise that no other organization in the world can offer to the field.
Page 53 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC For more than 130 years, ACA has been the driving force in establishing national and international correctional policies. ACA is recognized as a worldwide leader on correctional policy and standards. Our standards pertain to both adult and juvenile corrections, and include guidelines designed to assist states and other agencies in their efforts to implement correctional policy and procedure, which provide safe, secure, and humane facilities for staff and offenders alike.
In his remarks introducing the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003, Representative Wolf said ''prison rape has nothing to do with being tough on crime; it has to do with making our communities safer, reducing recidivism, and controlling the spread of communicable diseases.'' I agree completely with Congressman Wolf. In fact, those are central tenants of the American Correctional Association, and we whole-heartedly support the efforts of Mr. Wolf and Mr. Scott as well as all others involved in their quest to reduce the incidence of prison rape.
The American Correctional Association supports the objectives of H.R.1707. We believe that there should be a zero-tolerance standard for the incidence of prison rape. We believe that prison officials should make the prevention of prison rape a priority. We want to ensure that prison officials are accountable for what goes on within their institutions. We thank the bill's sponsors for incorporating into H.R. 1707 many changes that the corrections profession recommended to earlier versions of the legislation. However, there remain a few provisions of H.R. 1707 about which we retain some reservations or which we would like to see clarified.
The strength of the American Correctional Association is in the fact that we are the only organization that accredits total correctional facility operations, including health care programs. We have in excess of 1,600 facilities and programs that are involved in the accreditation process, including prisons and jails, boot camps, correctional industries, electronic monitoring, training academies, and community-based programs, for both adults and juveniles. We currently have accredited facilities or programs in 46 of the 50 states. Florida, Louisiana, New York, Ohio and Tennessee have accredited 100% of their correctional programs. And, approximately 95 percent of the Federal Bureau of Prisons' facilities are also accredited.
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Our profession has, within the past three years, adopted newer and more meaningful Performance-based Standardsstandards that better define the value of what we do, how we do it, why we do it and how successful we are through outcome measures. It is through the implementation of these measures that ACA has positioned itself to more closely collaborate with all elements within the criminal justice system to address specific issues facing the correctional profession, including those we are here to discuss today in relationship to the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003.
ACA's Standards Committee, in January 2003, finalized the adoption of several specific standards that are intended to significantly impact sexual misconduct and prison rape. Working closely within and outside the corrections profession, the Standards Committee adopted standards:
to revise the intake screening requirements for all offenders to specifically identify those who are vulnerable or have tendencies to act out with sexually aggressive behavior;
to require that an investigation be conducted and documented whenever an assault or threat of assault is reported;
to require that offenders identified with history of sexually assaultive behavior are assessed by mental health or other qualified professionals. Those with history of sexual assaultive behavior are identified, monitored and counseled; and,
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to require that offenders at risk for victimization are identified, monitored and counseled.
H.R. 1707 would establish the National Prison Rape Reduction Commission, established to study prison rape, report its findings to Congress and propose national standards for the prevention of prison rape to the Attorney General. However, there is no guarantee that those, including the ACA, who have unique expertise and experience in the development and implementation of standards for correctional programs will be consulted in the course of the Commission's work. We would like to see a requirement that the National Prison Rape Reduction Commission consult entities involved in accreditation in the development of national standards for the reduction of prison rape.
H.R. 1707 calls for states to seek reaccreditation every two years. However, ACA's current accreditation program has established a three-year cycle for the accreditation of correctional programs and we have found this time frame to be cost-effective and to provide adequate feedback relating to the state of operations within correctional facilities and programs. We believe that requiring states to seek accreditation every two years would result in a substantial increase in the costs associated with accreditation. Therefore, we recommend that the accreditation of correctional programs under any National Prison Rape Reduction Commission standard occur every three years.
Openness and accountability are important qualities in the administration of correctional systems. In fact, in ACA's accreditation process, which I discussed, we actively seek the input of those both inside and outside of the profession. We hold public hearings and we invite diverse groups representing a wide variety of interests to provide comments on our proposed standards. We want to ensure that the public has confidence that corrections departments are doing their job to the best of their abilities and that departments of corrections conform to the highest guidelines of our profession.
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H.R. 1707 creates a Review Panel on Prison Rape to hear from correctional administrators whose departments are experiencing high rates of prison rape. The goals of the panel are no different from those of the ACA accreditation processto ensure that corrections is open and accountable for the implementation of standards to prevent prison rape. The legislation establishes that the panel consists of three individuals with knowledge or expertise of the issues to be studied by the panel. However, the legislation provides little guidance for this panel. We believe that this panel should be structured in a way to ensure that the panel promotes a dialogue which allows for a true understanding of the incidence of prison rape and which aids in the study determining the true impact of prison rape.
We recommend that a majority of the members of the Review Panel on Prison Rape be drawn from the law enforcement community and have expertise in the operation of correctional facilities. This would help to ensure that the panel does not promote confrontation but rather builds a dialogue allowing for a true understanding of the problems those testifying face.
H.R. 1707 calls for a study of the incidence of prison rape; however, it overlooks important factors that need to be taken into account in the development and implementation of the study. First, the legislation, as drafted, does not adequately identify what constitutes rape in a correctional facility. Issues surrounding consensual sex are not addressed, and further defining what is meant by prison rape is necessary. Secondly, the legislation does not specify whether prison rape would include staff-on-inmate sexual assault. While there is no such thing as consensual sex between correctional employees and inmates, incidents of staff and inmate sex constitutes a crime in nearly every jurisdiction. Finally, the legislation places a great emphasis on prisoner surveys for determining the incidence of prison rape. However, in all surveys, not just those on issues as complex as prison rape, individuals tend to over-report the incidence. Thus, we recommend that the Department of Justice, in the development of a study relating to the incidence of prison rape, consult correctional administrators, prosecutors, victim advocates, former inmates and others with direct institutional knowledge in the development of the study.
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As you well know, state and local correctional agencies across the country are grappling with shrinking budgets and an expanding mandate. In this environment, the efforts of the supporters of the bill to reward correctional administrators for their efforts in meeting the requirements of this bill are commendable. We appreciate the extent to which the sponsors of H.R. 1707 have gone to ensure that this bill does not place unfunded mandates upon the states. Specifically, we appreciate the inclusion of language in H.R. 1707 preventing the adoption of measures that would impose ''significant additional costs compared to the costs presently expended by Federal, State, and local prison authorities.'' However, we believe that this term needs to be further defined. Thus, we recommend that the legislation be revised to define what, if any, further costs the implementation of national standards can place upon states and localities without providing federal funding for the implementation of such standards.
Furthermore, we have reservations relating to the manner in which funding will be distributed to states under this legislation and reservations relating to the designation of programs from which funding for the implementation of this legislation will be drawn. Currently, H.R. 1707 provides for an increase in federal grant funding to jurisdictions represented at hearings convened by the Review Panel on Prison Rape. The legislation calls for these jurisdictions to be selected from among those included in a random sample of jurisdictions. Thus, those jurisdictions that are not a part of the random sample used to determine the incidence of prison rape are ineligible for funding under this provision of the legislation. In effect, this approach effectively rewards those jurisdictions that appear to have a high incidence of prison rape while reducing the funding available for those jurisdictions that were not part of the random sample.
Page 58 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC To simplify this concept, let's assume that all fifty states are in compliance with the provisions of this legislation. Under the provisions of H.R.1707, ten states are chosen at random to participate in the sample. This means that forty states are not chosen. Under the legislation, the ten states chosen may be eligible for a ten percent increase in funding from certain ''formula grant programs.'' Does this mean that the forty states not chosen at random are not eligible for an increase and could actually see decreased federal assistance?
Furthermore, funding for the implementation of H.R. 1707 is to come from the existing universe of ''formula grant programs,'' most which are completely beyond the scope of correctional administrators' authority. In addition, relatively few current DoJ grant programs are designed to provide aid exclusively to corrections. Thus, other elements of state and local law enforcement could see reduced funding as a result of this legislation. I must ask whether funding from victim's assistance programs, community policing or drug treatment programs should be used to fund the implementation of this act. Even more alarming is that as the legislation is currently written, the term ''formula grant programs'' goes beyond DoJ programs that impact law enforcement and corrections. Given that the $1 billion minimum included in the legislation, it is likely that you would have to go outside of DoJ programs. Thus, the Attorney General could identify highway funds, education funds, HUD fundsin theory, any federal formula grant program, could be tapped into under the provisions of this legislation.
Thus, we recommend that the reward structure for the implementation of H.R. 1707 be restructured in a manner that ensures that states do not in any manner see a reduction in funding from any formula grant program as a result of this legislation. Furthermore, the funding mechanism of this legislation should be restructured to ensure that the funding of the Prison Rape Reduction Act does not impact federal programs of which corrections is not the primary beneficiary.
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States across the nation are experiencing extraordinary fiscal crises that are prompting governors and legislatures to recommend dramatic cuts to all areas of state government. Correctional departments have not been immune to these cuts, and, in fact, have been among the hardest hit. While corrections appreciates the attention that the issue of prison rape has received from the United States Congress, we can not help but draw your attention to the larger issues currently facing our profession. Thus, the American Correctional Association joins the Council of State Government and the Association of State Correctional Administrators in recommending that this legislation be adapted to address state and local government officials' acute need for immediate, targeted, peer-to-peer assistance that would assist in the management of corrections in a cost-effective manner without impacting the safety of correctional employees, inmates, or the community.
The primary mission of correctional departments across this country is to protect the public. Our mission also includes assisting in the prevention and control of delinquency and crime. Prison rape is a crime and we will continue to do our duty to prevent it.
Mr. Wolf was absolutely correct when he said that the issue of prison rape is not about being tough on crime. Prison rape is an issue centered upon the human rights and the human dignity of those within our nation's prisons and jails. Yet, if we are truly concerned with the human rights and human dignity of offenders, we must, as a society, ensure that all citizens receive access to health care, access to education, and access to a living wage. This investment will go much farther to making our communities safer, to reducing recidivism, and to controlling the spread of communicable diseases than anything else that we can do.
Page 60 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Prison rape is caused by larger, societal problems. It is a symptom of a disease and not the disease itself. And, ultimately, the prevention of criminal and delinquent behavior depends on the will of the individual and the constructive qualities of society and its basic entities: family, community, school, religion, and government. Without a significant investment in research and in the development of our communities, we will not be successful in achieving the admirable goals of making our communities safer, reducing recidivism and controlling the spread of communicable disease both inside and beyond our correctional systems.
The corrections profession applauds the leadership of Representatives Wolf and Scott on this issue. And, we feel that if implemented properly, this legislation will have an impact on prison rape. We hope that it will be cost effective. We hope that it will make are communities safer. We hope that it will reduce recidivism. And we hope that it will reduce the spread of communicable disease. ACA looks forward to working with you on this noble pursuit. And, again, I wish to thank you all for inviting me here today.
Mr. COBLE. Let's get to Mr. Hall, and then we can come back. Since just Bobby and I are here, we probably will have two rounds of questioning.
STATEMENT OF FRANK A. HALL, DIRECTOR, THE EAGLE GROUP
Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, my name is Frank Hall. I am currently a consultant in Washington, D.C. I spent 35 years in the corrections business, starting my career, Mr. Chairman, in your home State of North Carolina, where I spent 6 years and learned a great deal from a lot of very bright and capable people who were very committed to developing a humane and effective corrections department.
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I have had an opportunity to run three State correctional systems over the last 35 years, two large local corrections systems, as well as a juvenile justice system in the State of New York. I am gratified by the comments of my colleagues, Mr. Wall and Mr. Kehoe, who seem to be very supportive of the intent of this legislation and seem to be very supportive of the direction in which we're trying to move. I commend the leadership of Representative Wolf and Representative Scott. I think they've done a remarkable job focusing on an issue that I think too often we have avoided and tends to sort of be in the recesses of our institutions.
We don't tend to talk about this issue. There has been almost a reluctance to talk about this issue throughout our history. But I think it's a major problem. It is not only a problem of public safety and safety in our institutions for both staff and inmates, but I think it is, very frankly, a public safety issue and a public health issue.
But I'm gratified by the comments, because I think these two people represent what is best in the corrections profession. There are a lot of very fine people working in this business that would like to solve this problem and would like to be able to come before this Committee or any other Committee in Congress and say this problem has been solved, thanks to your efforts and thanks to your help.
I think there are several concerns that have been raised about the direction of the bill, most of which seem to address issues of funding and resource allocation, compliance issues. To me, these are relatively solvable problems. Congress deals with these problems almost every day, and I'm confident that these problems can be resolved.
Page 62 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But the reality of it is, you know, this problem of prison rape affects people today. Probably in the last 20 years, a million prisoners have been raped in the United States of America. I think that's unacceptable to all of us, not just in the corrections business but for every Member of Congress and every person in the United States.
Unfortunately, in spite of efforts to accredit our facilities in this country, a still relatively small percentage of correctional institutions are accredited. The fact of it is we operate thousands of jails in this country, police lockups, and there are 630,000 people alone in the local jail system. Just 2 years ago, if you counted the number of admissions and discharges from the local jails and the prisons, we're talking about 10 million people. Many people in the jail system haven't even been found guilty of a crime. So it's a major issue and it affects people, it affects the public health.
I think it requires Federal action for a very simple reason: we haven't done it at the State level. I've been at the State and local level all my life, but we haven't yet solved this problem. In spite of mass resources and money and support, we still haven't resolved this issue. In spite of much progress in the corrections business, we still haven't resolved this issue.
The other reality isand I think it's one we have to facemost prison staff are not adequately trained to prevent, to report, to treat and to deal with the issue. This bill provides some training, it provides opportunities for people to get resources to help deal with some of these issues. So we're not where we need to be, Mr. Chairman and Members of the Committee.
Page 63 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The bill doesn't attempt to solve all the world's problems, but it does attempt to do some very basic things. It sets up a program to gather the data, which we desperately needwe have so little real data that it's an embarrassment that we don't know more about the issue, that we don't have better data on this issueand Allen Beck is here from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, who I think is probably one of the best in the business. I'm sure his people, with support from Congress, can find out and get us much more information than we currently have.
The other program would provide technical assistance and a clearinghouse to help resolve some of these issues, and then there's a program that the Attorney General would have which would enable him to make grants up to a million dollars to States and localities who are trying to grapple with the problem.
So there is an honest effort to put some resources in this program to draw attention to it, to establish standards over a period of 2 years, and then I think recognizing that we have a long ways to go, Mr. Chairman.
I think what we've also said is that it's not that complicated. It's true that we have to work out some issues around formula grants; it's true we have to work out some issues around compliance. But basically, what the act is requiring is really relatively simple, and as a former corrections administrator in several States, and in local governments, as well as in the juvenile system, I would not find it impossible to carry this out, even with existing budget constraints within which we all operate today. I mean, there's always been a budget crisis as long as I've been in corrections, Mr. Chairman. It didn't take this recession or this economic downturn that we're having to create an economic crisis in the correctional system.
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We're only asking that correctional administrators cooperate with the surveys and other efforts to measure accurately the prevalence of prison rape in our existing institutions, and be prepared to explain, in a public forum, if an institution or system is far above the established norm. It's an issue of accountability. What gets measured, Mr. Chairman, is what gets done.
After years of hearings, discussion and debate, where all the fine people you see here today, and others, would have a chance to agree on a set of standards, and a set of standards that do not require substantial new State and local resources. And while we may debate the means of ensuring compliance, it is imperative that we, at a minimum, take these three steps.
If the Congress decides to act, then all of you will have the satisfaction of knowing your actions have enabled all of us to taken a historical step forward. As Members of this Committee can readily see, the Prison Rape Reduction Act is comprehensive and designed to shed light on dark, violent places. However, even more importantly, it provides prison and jail staffs with ideas, resources and performance accountability, all urgently needed if we are to lower the level of violence that exists today.
Passage of this legislation would be an historic step in establishing our commitment to real public safety. In this great country, we sentence people to prison as punishment and to protect our fellow citizens. We do not, and must no longer, sentence them to be raped, murdered or exposed to dangerous diseases. Those of us who have worked in our correctional institutions, Mr. Chairman and Members of this Committee, we applaud your efforts, your concern, and your humanity.
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[The prepared statement of Mr. Hall follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF FRANK A. HALL
Mr. Chairman, Members of the Sub-committee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security, it is an honor and a privilege to appear before you today. I am here to express my gratitude for your leadership in reducing violence in our correctional institutions and to express my support for the Prison Rape Reduction Act. I am also honored to be here with two of my colleagues, Reggie Wilkinson and Chuck Kehoe. I have known these two professionals for many years and they represent the best of the fine women and men working in our jails, prisons, and juvenile facilities throughout the country.
I have worked in the correction profession for more than thirty-five years in a broad range of positions. I have served as director, commissioner, or chief executive officer of the State corrections systems of Massachusetts, Maryland, and Oregon, the jail systems of Philadelphia and Santa Clara County, California and the New York juvenile justice system. To me, prison rape is much more than an academic issue. Prison rape impacts on human beings and on every jail, prison, and juvenile facility in America. It is an issue of violence and public health.
At the end of this century, over two million persons were incarcerated in our Federal and State prisons and more than 630 thousand were locked up in local jails. In 1999, there were more than ten million admissions to and discharges from these institutions. Although the research is limited-another part of the problem which would be remedied by the legislation- experts have conservatively estimated that at least 13 percent of inmates in the United States have been sexually assaulted while under our supervision. Many of these individuals have suffered repeated assaults. The total number inmates who have been sexually assaulted in the past twenty years could easily exceed one million.
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America's jails and prisons house more mentally ill individuals than all the Nation's psychiatric hospitals combined and experienced correctional professionals know that inmates with mental illness are at increased risk of sexual assault. Young first offenders are also vulnerable and those placed in adult rather than juvenile facilities are five times more likely to be assaulted.
HIV and AIDS have become an increasingly major health problem in corrections. More than 25,000 inmates in Federal and State prisons are infected. In 2001, more than six percent of all deaths in these institutions were attributable to these life-threatening illnesses. Infection rates for other sexually transmitted diseases, tuberculosis, and hepatitis B and C are also far greater for prisoners than the American population as a whole. Prison rape is often a death sentence for the victim.
Prison rape is nothing less than brutalizing violence and an act of rape or threat of rape in an institution increases the level of homicide and other violence against inmates and staff. Victims suffer severe physical and psychological effects that hinder their ability to re-integrate into the community and maintain stable employment after release. The result is higher recidivism, more homeless or at best individuals requiring some form of government assistance.
Unfortunately, most prison and jail staff are not adequately trained or prepared to prevent, report, or treat inmate sexual assaults. As a result, prison rape often goes unreported and victims often receive inadequate treatment if they receive treatment at all.
Page 67 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC The Prison Rape Reduction Act is an historic bi-partisan effort to mobilize our efforts to combat a problem that, as we have seen, impacts far beyond the walls of the country's jails and prisons. The law would establish a zero tolerance of rape in United States prisons and would make its prevention a top priority. National standards for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment will be established. Long needed data on the incidence of prison rape will become available which will improve the management and administration of our correctional institutions. It will increase the accountability of prison officials who fail to detect, prevent, reduce, and punish rape and increase the visibility of officials who are innovative and effective. The proposed legislation is designed to help jurisdictions that seek to create a safer environment.
The Prison Rape Reduction Act establishes three programs in the Department of Justice-the Statistics Program, the Prevention and Prosecution Program, and the Grant Program.
The first of these, the Statistics Program, would conduct annual studies of a significant sample of Federal, State, and county jails and prisons on the in the incidence and prevalence of rape. The program would then conduct an annual review of the performance of these systems where the incidence of rape greatly exceeds the national average.
The Prevention and Prosecution Program will serve as a clearinghouse for the provision of information and assistance to those authorities responsible for the prevention, investigation, and punishment of rape. This program would also provide training and assistance to Federal, State, and local prison officials.
The third and last leg of this tripod would be the Grant Program, which authorizes the Attorney General to make annual grants (up to $40 million each year) to State, and local programs that enhance the prevention and punishment of prison rape.
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In addition to the programs described above, the new legislation would establish a National Prison Rape Reduction Commission which would conduct comprehensive hearing and examine all penalogical, economic, physical, mental, medical and social issues related to prison rape in America. At the conclusion of its review the Commission will issue a comprehensive report on the subject, including a recommended set of national standards to reduce and eliminate prison rape.
The standards will address practices for the investigation and elimination of prison rape including the training of correctional officers; sexually transmitted disease prevention; identifying, protecting, screening, isolating, and punishing vulnerable and potentially offending inmates; and other related issues. The Commission will be required to limit its proposals to those that do not impose substantial additional costs on States and local governments. The Commission's recommended national standards will be independently reviewed by the Attorney General who may modify them before publishing them for notice and comment under the Administrative Procedure Act.
Once the standards become final, they will be immediately applicable to the Federal Bureau of Prisons. States then may adopt the standards by statute and those that do will receive increased funds for two years from certain Federal grant programs. States will continue to receive increased funds thereafter if they receive certification from an accreditation agency that they are in compliance with the standards.
The Act further requires that all prison accreditation organizations to examine prison rape prevention practices as a critical component of their accreditation reviews including, when and where adopted, the national standards promulgated pursuant to the Act. Failure to do so would make such organization ineligible for the receipt of any Federal funds.
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The problem today, Mr. Chairman and Members of this Committee, is that our focus has been on building institutions not on what goes on inside. As administrators we are held accountable for the visible-escapes and riots. These are the issues that result in blue ribbon commissions, legislative hearings, and the firing of wardens and commissioners and all too often line staff who shoulder the daily burden of keeping our facilities safe. The legislation before this committee requires a different level of accountability and it will change the reality for those living and working in the system. As the old adage states: ''What gets measured, get done.''
Ladies and Gentlemen of this committee, we are not asking too much of my corrections colleagues, we are only asking them to take these three modest actions:
Cooperate with the surveys and other efforts to measure accurately the prevalence of prison rape in our existing institutions.
Be prepared to explain in a public forum if an institution or system is far above the established norm.
And after years of hearings, discussion, and debate, agree to set of standards that do not require substantial new State and local resources.
While we may debate the means of ensuring compliance, it is imperative that we, at a minimum, take these three steps. If the Congress decides to act, then all of you will have the satisfaction of knowing your actions have enabled all of us to take an historical step forward.
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As members of this committee can readily see, the Prison Rape Reduction Act is comprehensive and designed to shed light on dark violent places. However, even more importantly it provides prison and jail staffs with ideas, resources, and performance accountability-all urgently needed if we to lower the level of violence that exists today. Passage of this legislation would be an historic step in establishing our commitment to real public safety. In this great county we sentence people to prison as punishment and to protect our fellow citizens. We do not and must no longer sentence them to be raped, murdered, or exposed to dangerous disease.
Those of us who have worked in our correctional institutions applaud your concern and your humanity.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Mr. Hall, and I thank the panelists. As I said, Mr. Scott and I are the only ones here and we'll have two rounds of questioning.
Mr. Hall, I'm sure that probably one of the reasons why there is very limited statistics available is probably fear of retribution, I would suspectIs that correct, that being one reason?
Mr. HALL. I think that's one of the reasons, Mr. Chairman, yes. I think the other is thatand this almost goesit is difficult to articulate, but I think there's been a reluctance on the part of all of us in the business to really talk about this issue and be frank about it.
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Mr. COBLE. Yeah.
Mr. HALL. I think that's part of the problem also.
Mr. COBLE. In your testimony you indicate that most prison and jail staff are inadequately trained or prepared to prevent, treat or report. What sort of training or preparation would you suggest?
Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I think you made a comment earlier about the Federal Bureau of Prisons. I think the Federal Bureau has provided a lot of leadership in this area. I think, if you look at the Federal regulations and policies, they very specifically deal with this issue. That is not true in many of the States; it's not true in some of the juvenile systems in this country; and it's certainly not true in many of the local jails.
I think the training that would be provided under this is a relatively small grant, only five million dollars to the National Institute of Corrections. It could go a long way, since it's practically increasing the National Institute of Corrections' budget by 50 percent. So it could go a long ways to training staff, developing protocolsyou have to have a protocol. In a corrections system, you have to have policy. But in training people in the policy, then giving them real tools to actually do the work that has to be done and the ability to investigate these things and protect the people that report. Because it's dangerous to report, Mr. Chairman, very dangerous. No one wants to report being raped if they're going to get killed within 24 hours after making the report.
Page 72 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Mr. COBLE. Miss Henke, your testimony indicates that there could be as many as 20 Federal formula grant programs at the Office of Justice Programs affected by the increases/reductions under this legislation.
What criteria will be used to choose which programs are affected?
Ms. HENKE. Sir, the underlying legislation specifically says programs that are related to the failure to abate prison rape. That is the guidance that would be provided in the legislation.
Specific criteria that would be used by the Attorney General to select the programs within OJP, others within the Department of Justice, or other programs throughout the Administration, is undetermined at this time.
Mr. COBLE. Mr. Kehoe, what are the benefitsLet me put a two part question to you.
What are the benefits to a State or institution of accreditation, (a), and (b), why do some States or institutions choose not to be accredited?
Mr. KEHOE. Mr. Chairman, the benefits of accreditation are that it provides a State and a facility a program with an outside independent assessment of that facility's strengths and weaknesses. It also helps to measure their compliance with attainable goals, and it implements in the implementation requirement for state-of-the-art policies to be achieved through the accreditation process.
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In some cases, it has actually aided in the defense in lawsuits. Federal courts have sometimes lifted their involvement with States because States have come into compliance with standards and accreditation. It also raises staff morale and professionalism because of the standards that specifically address training and qualifications.
I would say probably that the most important thing is that it helps you develop a road map for daily operations. That's the thing that we see most often, that you have a consistent way of managing these facilities from day to day.
I would say probably that, more often than not, what causes States, I think you asked, not to become involved
Mr. COBLE. Yes.
Mr. KEHOE.is probably a lack of understanding and knowledge, and certainly the cost factor for some States is, to some extent, a deterrent. They just simply don't know whether they have the money and the resources to do that. But I would say those would be the two major issues.
Mr. COBLE. I have a question for Mr. Wall, but I will wait until the second round. Mr. Scott.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Page 74 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC I think what we have heard is general support for the legislation, if we can work out the details. So let me ask you all a couple of questions.
Mr. Kehoe, what portion of prisons today are, in fact, accredited?
Mr. KEHOE. About 10 percent of the adult corrections in the country areactually, it's more than that. In the U.S., about 30 percent of adult prisons and jails are accredited, and about 10 percent of the juvenile programs are accredited. There's about 1,600 facilities in numbers.
Mr. SCOTT. Both you and Mr. Wall have suggested that we make sure that we contact those who do the accreditation. Does anybody else, other than ACA, do accreditations?
Mr. KEHOE. Yes. The National Commission on Correctional Health Care does accreditation specific to health care, but doesn't go into the operations and beyond the health care.
Mr. SCOTT. So if we wanted to contact a group that did accreditations, it would be ACA?
Mr. KEHOE. Yes.
Mr. SCOTT. I don't remember which one it was, but somebody mentioned the composition of the panel. Other than corrections officials, who else ought to be on the panel?
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Mr. KEHOE. Certainly I would think, Mr. Scott, people with law enforcement background, who have some experience in investigative skills, who have experience in dealing with sexual assaults in a free society would also bring a lot of strength to that composition as well.
Mr. SCOTT. Does somebody else want to respond to either of those questions?
Mr. HALL. Mr. Scott, I would also urge that, if such a panel be appointed, that it also include some folks that represent the people that have come through the system. You know, we haven't heard from those folks today. But those stories are compelling. I know these people personally, many of them, and they're absolutely true. We have to have people on a panel like that who represent some other points of view.
I would like to think that those of us in corrections are smart and sensitive and thoughtful about these issues, but it's important to have other people there with us I think.
Mr. SCOTT. You're talking about a broad cross-section. The problems we have with that is the way we have them appointed, three by this person, two by that person, one by this person, so that you don't get to appoint a group. You have to appoint one and that's it. Then you look and see what you've got. That's how we generally do it. We might have to tinker with that to make sure that, when all is said and done, we have a cross-section of the various disciplines.
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Mr. WALL. Yes, Representative Scott, if I may. There are really three components here, as I understand it. One is the BJS component, the second is this review panel to take the BJS statistics and help to present a profile of who the victims are, who the perpetrators are, and what the context is. The third is the commission that will promulgate standards for States to adhere to.
I had suggested that, with regard to the first prong, the BJS study, that there be an advisory group that would be broadly representative, that would help with definitional questions and identifying the appropriate ways to gather information. That would absolutely include victims' advocates as well as former inmates, as well as corrections professionals, law enforcement personnel and prosecutors.
Mr. SCOTT. You mentioned definitional questions. Several have indicated a question about the definition of rape, including whether or not staff-in-inmate rapes would be included.
Are there places that have already dealt with that question that we could find a definition?
Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, Mr. Scott, I would suggest, even if you look at the state of current law on sexual assaults, it pretty well covers it. When you're in a correctional facility, the mere threat of an assault in itself is a criminal act for all intents and purposes. When someone is threatened with rape or threatened with some sexual act, and if they don't cooperate they're going to be killed or maimed or whatever, I think the law pretty much covers most of these issues.
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Ms. HENKE. Sir, just one more thing, if I may. Congress did provide $13 million to the Office of Justice Programs in the fiscal year 2003 appropriations bill for the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice. Both of these entities, working collaboratively, are prepared to empanel a group of experts, practitioners, researchers, et cetera, individuals from the field that can address these issues. So the Bureau of Justice Statistics and the National Institute of Justice can get a head start on identifying some of these issues.
Mr. WALL. And, Representative Scott, with regard to the issue of staff on inmate sexual assault, that is a crime, a violation of the criminal code in 48 of the 50 States at the present time. Consent is not a defense in those instances. The mere fact of sexual misconduct between a staff member and an inmate is defined as a felony.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you, Bobby.
Mr. Wall, I don't think this has been touched on. We talk frequently and consistently about the lack of statistical data. How important, Mr. Wall, is it to reducing the incidence of sexual assault to obtain accurate statistics?
Mr. WALL. I think that it is very important to obtain accurate statistics, and that's why, Chairman Coble, I have recommended that there be an advisory group put together to assist the Bureau of Justice Statistics in assembling that data and also that it draw on a variety of surveys.
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Let me give you an example of one of the challenges that can be presented here. It is conceivable that a State which has good supervision, close supervision by staff, and good reporting mechanisms, could show up as having a high incidence of sexual assault on inmates, because in my experience over the years, if inmates have reason to believe that they will be believed and protected, they will report misconduct, whether it be by staff or other inmates. If inmates do not think they will be believed or protected, they will remain silent. That's why the issue of collecting data and collecting accurate data is going to be a very important and challenging piece.
Mr. HALL. Mr. Chairman, I certainly agree with what Mr. Wall has said. I think one of the reasons we've heard less about this issue over the years is because people have remained silent. I think many people who have been assaulted remain silent.
I think the interest of Congress and the interest of the Federal Government in this problem I think will change that silence. I think it will have a very positive impact.
Mr. COBLE. I hope so.
Miss Henke, pardon my raspy voice. I have already apologized to others. I know this sounds terrible.
Miss Henke, are the standards that have been adopted by the ACA also the standards that are required by the Federal correctional facilities?
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Mr. HENKE. Sir, to my knowledge, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has had their own standards in place since about 1997. However, the Bureau of Prisons also works to adopt the standards identified and used by the ACA.
Mr. COBLE. Thank you.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Mr. Wall, you indicated there may be some things we're overlooking. What were you referring to?
Mr. WALL. My concern is this, Representative Scott, that there is another emerging crisis in the corrections field that has to do with the fact that our systems continue to grow but that we are facing nearly unprecedented fiscal constraints.
In the late 1980's and 1990's, the philosophy really was to build more prisons and staff them up. We are now some 10-plus years, 10 to 15 years later from the beginning, from the onset of that philosophical approach, the coffers are exhausted, governors and legislators are not willing to spend additional capital monies, are not willing to continue to staff up and operate expensive correctional institutions, but our numbers have not abated. As a result, governors are forced to consider how to manage the population and whether the populations of correctional facilities can be allowed to continue to grow, notwithstanding the fiscal constraints. In virtually every jurisdiction, steps are underway and serious discussion is occurring about how to deal with that problem.
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My point would be that this is an occasion where the States really could benefit from targeted, technical assistance, so that we don't make those decisions unwisely and in contravention of the public safety. I would argue, as Mr. Hall has, that just as sexual assault in prisons can be looked at as a threat to public safety, through public health and through the consequences of people behaving on the street who have been abused that way, we also, of course, care deeply about the public safety associated with releasing inmates who might otherwise be incarcerated and want to be sure that those decisions are made soundly and wisely. We would appreciate the Federal Government's assistance in providing us with the means to do that.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Several questions have been raised about the funding formula. Does anyone have any concern, or are we confident that there is common ground that we can solve this? Let me ask that of Miss Henke.
Ms. HENKE. Sir, it is the Department of Justice's hope that yes, there is common ground. In discussions with individuals at the table, as well as other supporters of the legislation, it is the Department's hope that this issue can be addressed and that common ground exists for us to build from.
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Hall?
Mr. HALL. Mr. Scott, all the members of the coalition that support this legislation left their agenda at the door and are focused on this issue and this issue alone. I am relatively certain, as long as there is some form of compliance in the legislation, that some formula and some understanding can be worked out.
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Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Wall and Mr. Kehoe, do you have any concern that we might not be able to find a common ground to get past the funding questions?
Mr. KEHOE. Mr. Scott, I think we are in agreement with the Department of Justice on what has been said so far. People working collectively toward a unified cause, with a goal in mind, can achieve anything. I think we would be supportive of that.
Our greatest concern is that we not end up in a situation where no good deed goes unpunished.
Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
I guess a final question. A couple of people have used the phrase ''integrity'' in conjunction with the numbers that we get. What can we do to ensureI think Mr. Wall kind of touched on this a little bitthat the numbers we get as a result of the surveys are accurate?
Mr. HALL. Mr. Scott, I think that with Mr. Beck's involvement from the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the involvement of a lot of people that understand how to gather this data in a way that protects the people that give up the information, I'm convinced we can get the data. I mean, there are ways of doing these studies. I may be looking at people that have already been released, that are already off parole, that we have to look at some of those folks. But I think there's ways of gathering this data without compromising it, and I'm convinced that can be done. I think people are smart enough to figure that one out.
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Mr. SCOTT. Thank you.
Ms. HENKE. Sir, if I may, once again under the $13 million that was provided in the BJS appropriations bill, the Bureau of Justice Statistics is preparedwe have worked over the past month, maybe 2 months, to develop a proposal that we have discussed with many individuals. What the Bureau of Justice Statistics is going to do is they're going to pilot something they call the Audio Computer Assisted Self-Interviewing techniqueit's called the Audio CASI, is what we call itto improve the reliability of numbers.
One of the things the expert statisticians at the Bureau of Justice Statistics have said is currently there are pretty much two ways to gather the numbers: you provide a survey and let them fill it out whenever they fill it out, and turn it in whenever they turn it in; or there is a personal interview.
Personal interviews often sometimes subdues what an individual will discuss. By using this audio computer system, one, it's a more controlled environment, and two, it is not a person that you're sitting there talking with. So the Bureau of Justice Statistics, at OJP, is going to be moving forward on that technique to pilot it relatively quickly.
Mr. HALL. Mr. Scott, one other comment.
I think, quite frankly, based on the studies that have been done, and the information that we currently have, it is still my opinion that we have underestimated the full extent of the problem.
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Mr. COBLE. The gentleman's time has expired.
Does the gentlelady from Texas have questions?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Yes.
Mr. COBLE. The gentlelady is recognized for 5 minutes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, I ask unanimous consent to submit my opening statement into the record.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection.
[The prepared statement of Ms. Jackson Lee follows:]
PREPARED STATEMENT OF THE HONORABLE SHEILA JACKSON LEE, A REPRESENTATIVE IN CONGRESS FROM THE STATE OF TEXAS
I would like to thank Chairman Coble and Ranking Member Scott for convening this very important hearing today to hear testimony and discuss H.R. 1707, the ''Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003.''
This important bill will help to bring an end to the deplorable rapes, molestations, and sexual assaults that occur in our prisons.
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The negative impacts of prison rapes go beyond the physical trauma of the attack itself. The victims suffer psychological trauma, emotional scarring, shame, the stigma of being victimized, and the destruction of their dignity.
H.R. 1707 is a moderate bill that seeks to address the scourge of prison rapes. The bill does not infringe on state and local governments role in administering their correctional institutions. Likewise the bill does not impose mandates on correctional facilities without providing funding.
A critically important element of the bill is empowering the Department of Justice to conduct extensive research so that we can have a better understanding of the scope and character of the prison rape problem. The DOJ's research will also enable us to educate and train correctional facility officers to prevent prison rapes, to investigate and punish those responsible for the attacks, and to establish a funding system does not conflict with state funding initiatives.
By eliminating or significantly reducing prison rapes we will also benefit the general public. The psychological trauma of a prison rape has the potential to turn a person who was a non-violent offender when first incarcerated, into a violent offender when the person is released. Prison rape also increases the probability that prisoner rehabilitation efforts will be ineffective. Eliminating prison rapes will also reduce the incidence of infectious diseases like HIV/AIDS and hepatitis.
As the Chair of the Children's Caucus, I am particularly troubled by the impact that prison rapes have on minors who have been incarcerated. Imprisoned youths are five times more likely to be raped or sexually abused than incarcerated adults. Furthermore, the psychological trauma of a rape is far more serious to a child.
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We must do everything in our power to eliminate prison rapes. It is far too common for prison officials and members of the public to ignore the crimes that occur in our prisons, and the problems facing our prisoners. To neglect our prisoners is a violation of the Constitution. The Supreme Court ruled in Farmer v. Brennan, that deliberate, indifference to prison rape violates the 8th Amendment's cruel and unusual punishment provisions.
Thank you Mr. Chairman and Mr. Ranking Member, and I look forward to hearing the testimony of our distinguished witnesses to learn about how to eliminate prison rapes.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Let me applaud, first of all, the Chairman for holding this hearing, and applaud both the Ranking Member of this Subcommittee for his initiative in this legislation, along with Congressman Wolf.
Just for the recordand I know that these numbers have already been stated, but I guess it provides a chilling effect of this hearing to indicate that about two million inmates in the United States todayapproximately two-thirds in Federal and State prisons and one-third in local jailsthat of these two million inmates, it is conservatively estimated that one in ten has been raped, over or more than 200,000 inmates, and as I was listening to the testimony, there may be even more.
According to a 1996 study, 22 percent of prisoners in Nebraska have been either pressured or forced to engage in sexual activity against their will while incarcerated, and a 2001 report by the Human Rights Watch documented shockingly high rates of sexual abuse in U.S. prisons.
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The interesting thing, of course, is that, because of the age of majority, we have youngsters as young as 17 in adult prisons who may be victimized in this category. I am told by my interaction, my sad interaction with victims of sexual abuse, that it is a tragically life-changing experience.
Then I would finally note that by increasing the transmission of HIV/AIDS and other sexually-transmitted diseases, tuberculosis and hepatitis B and C, all of which exist at a very high rate within U.S. prisons and jails, prison rape has serious health consequences. So I know that all of you are facing a very high and critical question and this legislation is very important.
I would like to ask Miss Henke, right at this very moment, even without this legislation, knowing that this crisis or very severe problem exists, what are the Federal prisons doing, the Federal Bureau of Prisons doing, right as we speak to address this issue?
Ms. HENKE. Congresswoman, I can tell you a little bit about what they're doing, because I'm with the Office of Justice Programs and not with the Bureau of Prisons. But what I can tell you, as the Chairman stated early on, is that it has been noted that the Federal system has been working on this issue. The Bureau of Prisons has had policy in place since 1997, to my knowledge.
In addition to that, they work to adopt the same standards that ACA adopts for State and local prisons. So yes, the Federal system has had a policy and practice in place since at least 1997.
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Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Kehoeand she is not with the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and I'm going to find out later why they're not present. But in any event, Mr. Kehoe, can you assess whether there's been any work that has been legitimate and substantial on this question, beyond obviously the movement of this legislation, which I think will be of great help, but what has been done and what has been noted about this crisis so that something could be done, even in the interim of passing this legislation?
Mr. KEHOE. Let me ask a question. Are you specifically speaking to the Bureau or globally, corrections-wise?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Why don't you speak both specifically and generally. If you have more information generally, I'll accept that.
Mr. KEHOE. Okay. I don't have specific information about the Bureau, other than to say that 95 percent of the Bureau's programs are involved in our accreditation process. To that extent, there are standards that address issues of assault.
Most recently, in January of this year, the ACA standards committee passed four standards that specifically address the issue of sexual assault in institutions. They begin with the classification and intake process, to identify those perpetrators who may be the aggressor, and those who may be victims of possible sexual assault.
The second issue addresses the need for prompt investigation when a threat or an assault actually happens, and the culmination of that investigation.
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The third and fourth standards really deal with the profile of an aggressive perpetrator, a sexually aggressive offender in prison, streamlining that person into the right program so that they get the appropriate level of custody as well as treatment.
The last standard deals with those that might be considered potential victims in institutions, identifying them and properlyhaving standards that properly classify them so they're not put in harm's way.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. So you have been using standards to assess whether or not there have been any fix in the particular institutions that you've been dealing with, standards, reporting, et cetera?
Mr. KEHOE. The standards that we have addressed specifically to sexual assault were just passed this past January, so there really hasn't been a period of time yet to collect any meaningful data of that.
Mr. HALL. Representative Lee, could I make one comment on that?
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Yes.
Mr. HALL. The accreditation process that was instituted by the American Correctional Association is a very positive process, and I think it's been of enormous help in corrections.
Page 89 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC But as I pointed out earlier, the problem is there is just so few institutions that are accredited. When you get into the issues of local jails as well as juvenile correctional facilities, then you have a major problem area.
Unfortunately, as good as the process is, and even though these standards were adopted rather late in the process, the reality of it is most institutions don't go through an accreditation process. It's not like your school system or your colleges and universities. You can run your prison without accreditation. It's not like where if you have a college that doesn't get accredited, they'll probably end up closing their doors. That is certainly not true in this business.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. Mr. Chairman, is there a second round?
Mr. COBLE. No, just this.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. May I have an additional minute?
Mr. COBLE. One additional minute.
Ms. JACKSON LEE. I appreciate the response that you gave. I want to get the one representative State unfunded mandates, but I would like to know, one, what you're doing in your State, but more importantly, how this legislation will be helpful to you. I think I heard the funding issue, if you want to repeat that again, but how would it relate in terms of helping you be successful in the cure of this crisis and the very bad actions that are going on?
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Mr. WALL. Certainly, Representative Jackson Lee, there are a number of ways in which this legislation would be of use to jurisdictions that are seeking to prevent the incidence of sexual assault in prison, to deal with the aftermath, and to prosecute as a result.
One is that the legislation includes a clearinghouse. As you know, corrections is, by and large, a State and local function, and that means we are sometimes in isolation from one another, a point I was making in regard to the issue of managing correctional populations, and there is a real benefit to having access to information about best practices that are occurring in other States. That's one way.
Another way in which I would be helpful is that there are demonstration programs provided in the legislation, and at least in my experience over the years, when those succeed, they have a real effect on the profession and become the touchstone for changes in practice across the field. So that's still another way.
Thirdand I think this is very importantthe fact is that I speak from my own 29 years in corrections, and I speak on behalf of all the directors of corrections. We do know that sexual assault occurs in our prisons; we abhor it. It is difficult for us to measure it, and we would appreciate some opportunity for the kind of analysis that this legislation affords, identifying the characteristics of likely perpetrators, of likely victims, and also the situations, context, locations in the institution, times of day, that these things take place, so that we have data and tools to use in attacking the problem.
Page 91 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOC Ms. JACKSON LEE. Thank you very much.
Thank you, Mr. Chairman.
Mr. COBLE. Thanks you, Miss Jackson Lee.
We thank the witnesses for your testimony. The Subcommittee very much appreciates your contribution.
This concludes the legislative hearing on H.R. 1707. Do you have one more thing, Bobby?
Mr. SCOTT. Mr. Chairman, I would like unanimous consent to enter into the record letters from the Prison Fellowship Ministry, signed by Charles Colson and Mark Early, and from the Justice Fellowship from a statement by Pat Nolan, President of Justice Fellowship.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection.
[The material referred to follows:]
Page 92 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCPREPARED STATEMENT OF PAT NOLAN
''The opposite of compassion is not hatred, it's indifference''. These words were written by a prisoner who was severely beaten after refusing demands for sex from another inmate.
While often the subject of jokes on late-night TV, prison rape is no laughing matter. It has terrible consequences, not just for the inmates who are brutalized, but for our communities as well. The rate of HIV in prisons today is ten times higher than in the general population. Every rape in prison can turn a sentence for a non-violent crime into a death sentence.
Prison rape leads to other types of death, also. Rodney Hulin set a dumpster on fire in his neighborhood. Despite being only sixteen years old, he was sentenced to eight years in an adult prison where he was repeatedly beaten and raped. Despite his pleas for help, no one in authority intervened to help him; he was told to fend for himself. Depressed and unwilling to face the remainder of his sentence at the mercy of sexual predators, Rodney committed suicide. Similar suicides have occurred in jails and prisons across the United States.
Experts estimate that at least one in ten inmates is raped in prison. Because 95 percent of prisoners will eventually be released back into our communities, the horrors that occur inside prison have consequences for the rest of us, too.
Some who suffer through brutal rapes become predators themselves, both in prison and after their release, subjecting other innocent victims to the same degradation that they experienced. Or they vent their rage in other acts of violence, often racially motivated. One example is the tragic story of James Byrd, the African-American who was picked up by three white supremacists, beaten, chained to the back of their pickup truck and dragged for three miles to his death. One of his assailants was John William King, a burglar who had recently been released after serving a three year sentence in one of Texas' toughest prisons.
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When John arrived at the prison, a group of white supremacists reportedly conspired with the guards to place John in the ''black'' section of the prison. At just 140 pounds, John was unable to defend himself against a group of African American prisoners who repeatedly gang-raped him. This was exactly what the white power gang wanted. Filled with hatred, John was easily recruited into their group for protection. Over the remainder of his sentence, they filled John's head full of hatred for blacks. When he was released, John King unleashed that pent-up hatred on James Byrd. The gang-rapes he endured in prison are no excuse for his murder of James Byrd, but they certainly help us understand what could lead him to hate so much.
As troubling as the incidence of rape is, equally disturbing is the attitude of many government officials who are indifferent to it. When asked about prison rape, Massachusetts Department of Correction spokesman Anthony Carnevales said, ''Well, that's prison . . . I don't know what to tell you.'' In that offhand remark, he was expressing what many feel in their hearts but are loathe to admit''they deserve it.''
But they don't deserve it. Regardless of the crimes they have committed, no offender's sentence includes being raped while in the custody of government. By its very nature, imprisonment means a loss of control over the circumstances in which inmates live. They cannot choose their ''neighbors'' i.e. their cellmates, nor arm themselves, nor take other steps to protect themselves. Because the government has total control over where and how inmates live, it is their responsibility to make sure they aren't harmed while in custody.
That is why Justice Fellowship strongly supports HR 1707, the Prison Rape Reduction Act, which would establish standards for investigating and eliminating rape, and hold the states accountable if they fail to do so.
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Winston Churchill said that the manner in which a society treats criminals ''is one of the most unfailing tests of the civilisation of any country.'' It is important that Congress deal with the scandal of prison rape, for in doing so, you will lead our nation in meeting Churchill's test of a civilized society.
Mr. COBLE. Without objection, I would like to introduce into the record as well correspondence from Mr. Glenn Goord, the Commissioner, Department of Correctional Services for New York, and the Department of Public Safety Corrections from Louisiana, Mr. Richard Stalder, as secretary.
[The material referred to follows:]
Mr. COBLE. This concludes the legislative hearing on H.R. 1707, the ''Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003.'' The record will remain open for 1 week.
Thank you for your cooperation. The Subcommittee stands adjourned.
[Whereupon, at 5:21 p.m., the Subcommittee adjourned.]
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A P P E N D I X
Material Submitted for the Hearing Record
PREPARED STATEMENT OF MICHAEL J. HOROWITZ
Chairman Coble, Congressman Scott and Members of the Subcommittee:
I submit this statement in the hope that it will be of value to the Subcommittee in its consideration of H.R. 1707, the Wolf-Scott-Sessions-Kennedy Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003. Having been involved from the start with the extraordinary right-left, bipartisan coalition engaged in the effort to enact it, I hope that the following comments will shed light on the context and character of the effort and the bill.
The first and most critical fact about the bill is its modest, moderate and federalism-friendly nature. The coalition supporting the bill, whose strong letter of support of April 18, 2003 is attached to this statement, has steadfastly resisted calls to deal with massive and epidemic prison rape through major federal spending initiatives, major federal spending mandates, significant amendments of existing laws or expansions of the right to bring lawsuits in the courts. The coalition is therefore pleased that H.R. 1707, which has the committed, indeed passionate support of such groups as the NAACP and Focus on the Family; La Raza and the Salvation Army; Prison Fellowship and Human Rights Watch; the Southern Baptist Convention and the Union of American Hebrew Congregations; the National Association of Evangelicals, the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., the American Probation and Parole Association, Physicians for Human Rights, the Christian Coalition and Amnesty International, U.S.A. only calls for limited but strategic steps to be taken.
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Insofar as penal systems are concerned, H.R. 1707 only calls for three simple reform stepsall of them highly moderate in light of the fact that:
Between 10 and 15% of the nation's two million prisoners are now estimated to be victims of sexual assault each year and, when victimized, to be repetitively assaulteda violent outcome that, by far, hits first-time offenders, juveniles and the mentally handicapped hardest of all.
Today's systematic indifference to prison rape not only represents grievous and unacceptable penal and social policy; Congressional action is further in order because the Supreme Court's Farmer v. Brennan decision makes deliberate indifference to prison rape a direct violation of the 8th Amendment of the Constitution.
The three actions called for by H.R. 1707 are these:
Penal systems are called upon to cooperate with annual Justice Department prison surveys of prison rape;
Heads of prison systems whose incidence of prison rape is found by the Justice surveys to exceed the national norm by 30% or more are called upon to publicly explain and defend their prison rape abatement policies; and
Prison systems are called upon to comply with rape abatement standards established after years of study by a National Commission and by the Attorney General, and after full notice and comment rulemakingunder circumstances where the standards cannot impose significant spending mandates.
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H.R. 1707 seeks to enforce the three above reforms through limited adjustments in formula entitlements for federal grant programs whose purposes are most undermined by the failure to abate prison rape. I know that there has been discussion over this means of achieving compliance with H.R. 1707's three reforms, and believe that careful scrutiny of this approach will establish its moderate and non-intrusive character. Whatever one's views of H.R. 1707's grant formula adjustment approach, however, it is fair to say that the coalition's singular determination is that jurisdictions should not be free to ignore the three reforms, or be unaffected if they do so.
Thus, the coalition's position may be summarized as follows:
That meaningful mechanisms should be established to ensure that prison systems can be surveyed to determine the incidence of prison rape;
That the heads of systems where the incidence of rape significantly exceeds national norms should publicly defend their rape abatement practices; and
That prison systems should comply with carefully established, no-spending-mandate rape abatement practices.
As long as these three, limited objectives are achieved, Mr. Chairman, I believe that Congress will enact historic legislation that will be a credit to it, to our Constitution and to the decency of the American people.
Page 98 PREV PAGE TOP OF DOCLETTER FROM HAROLD W. CLARKE, WITH ATTACHMENTS
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LETTER FROM CINDY STRUCKMAN-JOHNSON, WITH ATTACHMENTS
LETTER FROM JOSEPH D. LEHMAN
LETTER FROM REGINALD A. WILKINSON
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LETTER FROM ALIDA V. MERLO
LETTER FROM MARTIN D. SCHWARTZ
LETTER FROM LEANNE FIFTAL ALARID