Justice Dept. Rejects Texas Governor's Assurance of PREA Compliance

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May 22, 2015
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The U.S. Department of Justice has rejected Texas’s assurance that it will work to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards, according to news reports.

The rejection is based on the absence of a form that Texas was supposed to submit promising that the state would dedicate at least 5 percent of federal grant money toward implementation of the PREA standards. 

Instead, Gov. Greg Abbott wrote that Texas will work to fully implement PREA “wherever feasible” – a guarantee the Justice Department deemed insufficient.

We are profoundly disappointed that Gov. Abbott has neglected to make a meaningful commitment to meet the PREA standards set by the Justice Department, and we applaud the Department for demanding real commitment from Texas to use grant funds to actually enforce these standards. 

Gov. Abbott cannot coast by paying lip service to PREA, while Lambda Legal client Passion Star and other incarcerated people remain at risk of continued sexual violence. 

Lambda Legal will continue to press Gov. Abbott to take the necessary steps to end prison rape in his written statements and to turn his words into action.”

Passion, who has suffered rape and sexual abuse while in the custody of the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, says: “The rules of human decency should demand that Gov. Abbott act as if this was happening to someone close to him, someone that he cared about. How would you feel if there was someone in your family going through what I’m going through? No one should be raped, no one should be cut, no one should have to live with the constant threat of harm. I don’t want to have sex to be safe. I shouldn’t have to.”

Read the press release.