Ashlee Rosado

Joshua Zollicoffer, preferred name Passion Star was an inmate in the complex New Boston, Tex. Star challenged the authorities to end prison rape because he a victim of sexual harassment, abuse and assault. Prison rape affects other gay and transgendered prisoners as well. According to the article Push to End Prison Rapes Loses Earlier Momentum by Deborah Sontag, “Some 8,000 institutions are supposed to be audited for sexual safety by August 2016, but only 335 audits had been completed by March, according to a Justice Department document obtained from the office of Senator John Cornyn of Texas; the department declined to provide numbers.” Sexual abuse is not accepted in prison/jail, however, it still occurs; considering the ongoing victimizations, prison/jails need better structured opportunities to report sexual assault should be implemented; in addition, those who report such trauma should be closely monitored. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) provides information, resources, recommendation and funding to protect individuals from prison rape. I support this act because sexual abuse can cause psychological effects – especially if they are being victimized repeatedly. Just like Star, vulnerable men/women/youth are continuously victimized by other prisoners and/or corrections staff. Protecting inmates is still a challenge facilities face; for this reason, screening for risk and victimization and abusiveness, medical and mental health screening can enhance safety about housing and protection for inmates. Correctional Officers and mental health professionals need to work together in order to address the complex problem and reduce the number of individuals victim to this trauma. Facilities  need to take multiple things into consideration, such as where, when and under what conditions did the sexual abuse occur in order to begin to make a difference and better the facility. When individuals come forward and speak on being a victim, their identification and report should be limited to a few professionals and staff members. All in all, I strongly believe inmates should be protected not segregated when such a traumatic event occurs.

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