Yesterday, this happened: creationist Texas Governor Rick Perry came out strongly in favor of letting prison rape continue unabated.
“I will not sign your form and I will encourage my fellow governors to follow suit,” Perry wrote in a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder, the first governor to make such a move.
The “form” in question is a letter asking governors to say whether they comply with the sexual violence prevention guidelines of the 2003 federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), a law Congress passed unanimously and George W. Bush signed in 2003. Most of what the law has done so far is collect data on sexual victimization in prison, which had never been collected before. More recently, the Department of Justice has issued standards for prisons and jails, including limiting when guards of the opposite sex see prisoners naked or pat them down and prohibiting invasive searches of transgender prisoners.
“Governor Perry’s letter rejecting PREA is a disgraceful illustration of why Texas prisons are among the most violent in the country,” Lovisa Stannow, Executive Director of Just Detention International, said in a statement. The organization, which works on ending sexual abuse in prisons, said it had received more letters from Texan survivors of sexual violence than from any other state.