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UPDATE: In July 2003, the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 was passed unanimously by both the House of Representatives and the Senate. On September 4, 2003, President Bush signed the bill into law. No further action is requested at this time.

1. Contact your Senators and Representives in Congress
Urge members of Congress to support the Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2003 (H.R. 1707). This bill, which was introduced in the House of Representatives on April 9, encourages federal, state and local authorities to take effective measures to prevent and punish rape, and is supported by a diverse coalition of groups opposed to prison rape. Although an earlier version of the bill was introduced in the Senate last year, it did not pass prior to the close of the 107th Congress, and it now awaits reintroduction in the Senate.

  • Click here for a sample letter.
  • Click here to read the draft legislation.

Letters are especially urged to members of the Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security of the House Committee on the Judiciary.

2. Write the Attorney General
Urge Attorney General Ashcroft to ensure that the Department of Justice is doing its part to stop rape in prison. Specifically, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), a Justice Department agency, should develop model protocols for investigating complaints of rape, and should hold training programs on the issue for corrections staff. The Civil Rights Division of the Justice Department, and the Special Litigation Section in particular, should more actively investigate and pursue sexual abuse cases that occur in prisons.

  • Click here for a sample letter.

3. Become more aware.

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