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U.S. Prison Rape Law Causes Financial Burden For Some Jails

July 17, 2012 10:36:19 am

A 2003 federal law set an ambitious goal of reducing rape and sex abuse in prisons and jails. Nearly a decade after the law passed, says the Columbus Dispatch, new regulations have some Ohio law-enforcement officials concerned that the costs and bureaucracy may overwhelm already-strapped county jails. Officials who wrote the regulations “want a perfect world,” said Capt. Brian Arnold of the Stark County sheriff’s office. He has a 10-inch-tall stack of papers on his desk describing how to implement the law. “But there’s not enough money for a perfect world.”

The cost of compliance nationwide will be about $6.9 billion between 2012 and 2026. The average cost to comply with the standards is about $55,000 for prisons, $50,000 for jails and $54,000 for juvenile facilities. An analysis by the conservative American Action Forum finds that the new rules will create a paperwork burden of 148,455 hours nationwide. The 128 pages of regulation include a long list of actions aimed at fighting sex abuse in prisons, including provisions ranging from overseeing hiring and promotion to investigating allegations of rape in prison properly. States that do not comply with the regulations could lose 5 percent of their annual prison and jail support money from the Department of Justice.

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