Thursday, November 16, 2006
From signonsandiego.com: Spurred by a 2003 federal law, the U.S. Department of Justice's new Review Panel on Prison Rape began two days of hearings Tuesday at California's Folsom Prison to learn what the country's largest state prison system is doing about the problem.
It is the start of a month long national effort to find how many prison inmates are victims of sexual assault and how to deter the attacks.
Reports of assaults “may be just the tip of the iceberg. We haven't a clue,” said McFarland, who also directs the Justice Department's Task Force for Faith-Based and Community Initiatives.
Congress, in passing the federal rape law, cited estimates that 13 percent of inmates are assaulted nationwide. The federal Bureau of Justice Statistics, in a 1997 survey, put the incidence at less than 1 percent.
California legislative researchers found 4.4 percent of California inmates reported assaults in 2000, compared to 4 percent in Florida, 2.5 percent in Texas, 2.3 percent in New York and 1.7 percent in federal penitentiaries. But reporting methods vary so widely that the figures are useless, McFarland said. Rest of Article. . . [Mark Godsey]