Statement on Prison Rape Elimination Act
Section 7(h) of the Act purports to grant to the Commission a right of access to any Federal department or agency informa-tion it considers necessary to carry out its duties, and section 7(k)(3) provides for release of information to the public. The executive branch shall construe sections 7(h) and 7(k)(3) in a manner consistent with the President's constitutional authority to withhold information when its disclosure could impair deliberative processes of the Executive or the performance of the Executive's constitutional duties and, to the extent possible, in a manner consistent with Federal statutes protecting sensitive information from disclosure.
SEC. 7. NATIONAL PRISON RAPE REDUCTION COMMISSION.
(h) INFORMATION FROM FEDERAL OR STATE AGENCIES- The Commission may secure directly from any Federal department or agency such information as the Commission considers necessary to carry out its duties under this section. The Commission may request the head of any State or local department or agency to furnish such information to the Commission.
(1) ISSUANCE- The Commission may issue subpoenas for the attendance of witnesses and the production of written or other matter.
(2) ENFORCEMENT- In the case of contumacy or refusal to obey a subpoena, the Attorney General may in a Federal court of appropriate jurisdiction obtain an appropriate order to enforce the subpoena.
(3) CONFIDENTIALITY OF DOCUMENTARY EVIDENCE- Documents provided to the Commission pursuant to a subpoena issued under this subsection shall not be released publicly without the affirmative vote of 2/3 of the Commission.
This should be the last straw for the "national security" talking point in defense of unitary executive theory. The President has reserved for himself the right to withhold documents from the public on the subject of prison rape, PRISON RAPE. One of the blackest of all black spots on America's human rights record. There is absolutely no excuse for this.
For those not familiar with the issue, I recommend the following resources:
Stop Prison Rape
No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons
All Too Familiar: Sexual Abuse of Women in U.S. State Prisons
Nowhere to Hide: Retailiation Against Women in State Prisons
"Not Part of My Sentence": Violations of the Human Rights of Women in Custody
Red Tape Lets Guards Rape Women Prisoners, Suit Argues
Some basic statistics:
A recent study of prisons in four Midwestern states found that approximately one in five male inmates reported a pressured or forced sex incident while incarcerated. About one in ten male inmates reported that that they had been raped.The Prison Rape Elimination Act was passed with widespread bipartisan support. A Google search of conservative sites such as TownHall and NRO reveals that many Republicans were among its biggest supporters. I wonder what they would think about Bush's self-proclaimed right to violate the law.
Rates for women, who are most likely to be abused by male staff members, vary greatly among institutions. In one facility, 27 percent of women reported a pressured or forced sex incident, while in another facility, seven percent of women reported sexual abuse. (link)
More than a million people were sexually assaulted in prisons over the past two decades, the commission said.