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At the Request of Mr. Reid, the Following Statement Was Ordered to be Printed in the Record

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

(At the Request of Mr. Reid, the Following Statement Was Ordered to be Printed in the Record.) -- (Senate - June 23, 2009)

(At the request of Mr. Reid, the following statement was ordered to be printed in the Record.)


Mr. KENNEDY. Mr. President, I commend the members of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission for its excellent report and recommendations. Sadly, rape and sexual abuse have often been regarded as inevitable facts of life in prisons across the country. Until now, the Federal Government had never conducted a reliable study of the issue--even though more than 2 million men and women are now behind bars nationwide. The shocking reality is that 1 in 10 of those 2 million will be victims of rape.

At greatest risk are the 100,000 juvenile inmates, the 200,000 men and women held in immigration detention centers, and the many inmates suffering from mental illness. Juvenile facilities in particular are regularly the site of shocking physical and mental abuse, and juveniles incarcerated in adult facilities are five times more likely to report being victims of sexual assault than those in juvenile facilities.

The recommendations contained in this new report identify the steps and standards needed to achieve safer conditions in our prison system. The members of the Commission deserve our gratitude for their skill and dedication in examining all aspects of this complex and serious problem, and so do all those who contributed their knowledge and expertise to the Commission's work. Their leadership is a major step toward resolving this festering crisis.

I look forward to the important work ahead by the Congress, the Attorney General, and the many dedicated professionals, advocates, and experts to implement the Commission's recommendations.

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