July 26, 2016
To the New York City Board of Correction:
We, the undersigned organizations and individuals, believe that the Department of Correction (DOC), Health + Hospitals (H+H), and the Board of Correction (Board) must take action to end sexual violence in New York City jails. Any incarcerated person who is subjected to sexual abuse or sexual harassment in NYC jails must receive best-practice, evidence-based care and must be treated with utmost concern and professionalism. The Board must adopt standards that will prevent sexual violence to the greatest extent possible. But when sexual violence occurs, the Board’s standards must require readily-accessible methods of reporting; prompt, professional support for the survivor; complete and effective investigation; ongoing support for the survivor free from retaliation; and swift, transparent action to hold the perpetrator accountable. It is imperative that the survivor is assured that his or her voice will be heard as a credible, reputable source of information about the alleged incident. The healing process can only begin once the survivor feels that a pathway to justice is feasible.
The proposed rules include requirements which advance these goals. However, we believe that they must be strengthened in the following ways:
Support for Survivors
Discipline/Termination of Staff
We urge the Board to amend its rules to require appropriate protection of sexual violence survivors.
[List of organizations and individuals who sign on]