Thursday, May 29, 2014

Gov. Dave Heineman's failure to comply with 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act by May 15 deadline means Nebraska may lose 5% of DOJ prison grants

The Washington Post reports that seven states and one territory will face  5% cuts in federal grants because their governors have either refused to adopt federal standards to combat prison sexual assault as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act, or have not committed to comply with the law.
     The law to “prevent, detect and respond to” sexual abuse and rape in prisons, jails and juvenile facilities was passed unanimously by Congress and signed by President George W. Bush in 2003. May 15 was the deadline for states and territories to submit certifications or assurances of compliance to standards created by a national bipartisan commission.
     The governors of Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas and Utah as well as the Northern Mariana Islands in the Pacific either did not meet the deadline or have indicated that they do not intend to comply with the law.
From the National Criminal Justice Association:
Congress mandated that the penalty for noncompliance is 5 percent of any DOJ grant funds "that it would otherwise receive for prison purposes," a term left undefined in statute.  DOJ is interpreting this to mean any grant program eligible to be used for prison construction, administration or programming, which in FY14 will include the Byrne Justice Assistance Grant program, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act’s Title II formula grants, and the Office on Violence Against Women’s STOP grants.

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