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Texas governor says state won’t follow federal rules intended to reduce prison rapes

Posted Apr 1, 2014 2:40 PM CDT
By Martha Neil

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Citing "the operational realities in our prisons and jails," the governor of Texas is declining to follow administrative rules for implementing the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act.

The 2003 law was signed into law by a fellow Republican, then-President George W. Bush. However, the administrative rules to enforce it were adopted by the administration of President Barack Obama, and Gov. Rick Perry says they are too costly and cumbersome, according to the Raw Story and the San Antonio Express-News.

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Texas Gov. Rick Perry. Christopher Halloran / Shutterstock.com

Among the rules to which Perry objects are standards calling for more staff and requiring that 17-year-olds and 18-year-olds be housed separately from each other. He explains his objections in a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder.

Although technically a failure to comply with the PREA rules could result in enforcement and even criminal penalties, the feds say they plan to meet with Perry to resolve the issues he has pointed out.

The state of Texas has its own program to reduce prison rapes, and officials say they have gone down about 10 percent during the past two years.

A spokesman for the state says it “has a zero tolerance policy against sexual violence" in jails and prisons, the Express-News reports.

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