On April 4, 2011, the Center for HIV Law and Policy submitted these comments on the Department of Justice's (DOJ) proposed standards for the prevention, detection, and response to prison rape on behalf of the AIDS Foundation of Chicago, HIV Prevention Justice Alliance, HEAT, National Center for Lesbian Rights, Equity Project, HiTOPS, the African American Office of Gay Concerns, Juvenile Justice Project of Louisiana, New Jersey Parent's Caucus, Inc., the Hyacinth AIDS Foundation, and Massachusetts Commission on Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth.
These comments urge the DOJ to implement standards in its final rulemaking that reflect the connection between providing comprehensive sexual health care to youth and protecting the sexual health and safety of detainees in juvenile facilities. Such sexual health care includes sexual medical care and sexual health education for youth and LGBTQ cultural competency training for staff, volunteers, and contractors.
Sexual health care programs have an impact on reducing the occurrence and increasing the reporting of sexual assault. They are also legally and ethically mandated as a central part of basic medical care. Because LGBTQ youth are ten times more likely to be the targets of sexual abuse than heterosexual youth in these facilities, it is important that programs and standards address the specific needs of LGBTQ youth and work to counter discrimination, violence, and harassment among youth and staff.
These comments precede the final rulemaking that the DOJ must implement under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA). The final rules will affect all private and public facilities for adult and juvenile offenders, as well as community confinement facilities. States that do not implement the standards will lose a portion of federal funding each year until the standards are implemented.
In May 2010, the Center for HIV Law and Policy submitted comments in response to the DOJ's first set of proposed standards. Those comments can be found here.