New Rule to Prevent Rape and Sexual Abuse Doesn’t Go Far Enough to Protect Survivors

17 Nov New Rule to Prevent Rape and Sexual Abuse Doesn’t Go Far Enough to Protect Survivors

JAC Attempted to stave a rushed-vote on the implementation of the new rule to cure the epidemic of sexual assault and rape in our city’s jails and on Rikers Island yesterday on 11.15.16 during the NYC Board of Correction Meeting. The rule, a response to the Federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) falls short of advocate demands. The Rules must be strengthened before they are adopted. Despite BOC’s acknowledgement that only 5 out of 294 allegations of staff on inmate sexual abuse were substantiated between 2013-2015, among other omissions the proposed Final Rules contain no provision for:
• Enhanced monitoring of staff that return to duty following one—or even many—allegations of abuse.
• Additional improvements to investigations—including requiring that Departmental investigations of correction officer abuse be conducted by civilian staff, and that weight be given to alleged patterns of misconduct, something allowed even in criminal prosecutions.
• Require that camera footage be maintained longer due to known reluctance of sexual abuse victims to report.
• Transparency: while the rules require substantial reporting to BOC, they do not require that the information about the abuse—from the gender of the victim or the purported abuser to whether there were prior allegations of abuse involving the staff person—be made public nor that information flows in a timely manner back to the survivor/advocate about her/his complaint.
• Require specific protections for transgender women confined in a male facility, where they remain at extraordinary risk. While the Final Rule properly rejects genitalia as dispositive as to where transgender persons are housed, specific protections should also be required for transgender women. Training for staff assigned to guard transgender people be completed until 2020, four years from now, is too long to wait. Require training be completed by the end of 2017.

We are angry, we are upset, we mourn for our sisters and brothers living in sexual conscription inside. We dust ourselves off and continue the work to perfect this rule and the processes and methodologies governing how survivor complaints and investigations are handled on Rikers and in our City jails where our most vulnerable populations suffer in silence.

The Amazing Victoria Law published her critique of what she saw presented yesterday at the hearing in the Village Voice

http://www.villagevoice.com/…/advocates-say-new-rule-doesnt…

Her piece dropped an hour before the BOC released its press release highlighting the long-term achievements of the Rule while simultaneously dealing a blow to advocate demands left by the wayside and omitting mention of any shortcomings of the Board’s endeavor.

http://www.ny1.com/…/rikers-island-unit-meant-to-protect-tr…

Courtney Gross’ piece on NY1: DOC Commish Ponte is given a platform from which to shift blame for attempting to end the Trans Housing Unit. He cites federal law as prohibiting the unit as it stands today. There is nary a mention of the unit, or how it may be transformed, in the New Rules. JAC invited a representative from the NYC Bar Association in to the 7.26.16 BOC hearing to explain to the BOC AND DOC why interpreting the law in a way that prohibits the unit way is flawed. We will endeavor to convince the BOC to not make this error of law when enacting PREA in regards to the THU.

Danielle Tcholkian, DNAinfo.com reporter has posted a survey for the public to weigh-in about how we feel about the BOC’s Rule Change meant to cure the epidemic of rape and sexual assault in our City jails.

https://www.dnainfo.com/…/new-york-city-board-department-co…

Please everyone take a moment and share widely and recommend that people add comments that give the new rule very low ratings. Here is JAC’s initial statement about the rule which we will revise in response to yesterday’s events in the coming days and distribute widely.

n.b. A Big shout out to our beloved in-house artist in residence, Brittnay Kathryn Knapp ( http://www.brittanykathrynknapp.com/ )
as her provocative art graces all our collateral. I don’t think we would have as much press without her iconography.

http://www.villagevoice.com/…/advocates-say-new-rule-doesnt…

https://www.dnainfo.com/…/new-york-city-board-department-co…

http://www.ny1.com/…/rikers-island-unit-meant-to-protect-tr…

http://www.wsj.com/…/rikers-island-violence-scrutinized-147…