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Prison Rape Elimination Act

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC

Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, 10 years ago today, this body unanimously passed PREA, the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which my colleague from Virginia, Frank Wolf, and I sponsored.

PREA is designed to end sexual violence in our Nation's prisons. One focus of PREA is on reducing assaults on children in our criminal justice system. Youthful inmates are more likely than their adult counterparts to be victimized by prison staff and adult inmates. Under PREA, no youth under 18 years of age can be placed in a housing unit where contact with adult inmates may occur.

Furthermore, children in adult jails and prison are often placed in solitary confinement for their own protection, which turns out to be detrimental to their mental health. Due to this type of confinement and exposure to abuse, youth have the highest rates of suicide amongst all inmates. PREA urges agencies to avoid subjecting children to solitary confinement.

Mr. Speaker, I call on the Department of Justice to redouble its efforts to ensure that every State implements PREA to protect all inmates from sexual violence. The type of sexual violence that has plagued our prisons and jails is cruel and unusual punishment and should not be part of an inmate's prison term.

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