The 2 States That Won't Consent to Federal Prison-Rape Rules

Utah continues to reject federal guidelines meant to prevent prison rape — and now is one of only two states that won't comply, according to a recently released U.S. Department of Justice report.

Utah continues to reject federal guidelines meant to prevent prison rape — and now is one of only two states that won't comply, according to a recently released U.S. Department of Justice report.

 

Nineteen states have fully adopted standards under the Prison Rape Elimination Act, or PREA, according to the department's latest compliance list. Another 34 states and U.S. territories have demonstrated they are working toward compliance.

 

But Utah and Arkansas continue to reject the standards. Several other states — including Idaho, Alaska and Texas — initially rejected PREA but in recent years agreed to move toward compliance.

 

Kirsten Rappleye, spokeswoman for Gov. Gary Herbert, said in an email that Utah "fully supports the goal of eliminating rape within our correctional facilities," and the state "implemented many of the stated recommendations prior to the PREA's passage, and has now implemented the majority of them."

 

But she said state officials felt certain aspects of PREA "undermined our dedicated efforts to eliminate prison rape," so the state has decided not to comply.

Caroline Cournoyer is GOVERNING's senior web editor.