- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 14, 2016

NEW YORK (AP) - In some versions of a story June 15 about efforts to combat rape in New York City’s jails, The Associated Press reported erroneously on the vote taken by the New York City Board of Correction. The board proposed rules that are subject to final approval following a public comment period; it didn’t approve the new rules.

A corrected version of the story is below:

New York City board proposes standards to reduce jail rapes

The New York City Board of Correction proposes rules designed to reduce rape and sexual assault in jails


Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - A board that oversees New York City’s jails proposed new rules Tuesday designed to prevent sexual assault behind bars, but only after its newest member questioned whether the elimination of rape in jails was even possible.

“You can tell staff until you’re blue in the face, ‘Don’t have sex with inmates,’ and it’s still going to happen. OK?” said New York City Board of Correction member Gerard Bryant, a psychologist, during the discussion leading up to the vote. “As long as we are going to have prisons we are going to have sexual abuse in prisons. That’s the reality. That’s what happens.”

The proposed rules, which are still subject to final approval following a public comment period, are intended to bring the city into compliance with federal standards for detecting, preventing and responding to sexual abuse and sexual harassment of inmates at city jails.

The policies also contain clarifications on how to work with transgender inmates, including a ban on the practice of physically examining prisoners solely to determine their “genital status.”

Kelsey De Avila, a jail services advocate, said it’s taken too long for the board to act. It has been four years since the Department of Justice finalized standards for combating prison rape.

“The issues of sexual assault and sexual abuse cannot be ignored any longer,” said De Avila, who works for Brooklyn Defender Services, which provides legal representation for people who can’t afford an attorney.

New York City Public Advocate Letitia James, who petitioned the board to adopt the new rules, said she’s pleased with the proposal and urged the panel to move quickly to put the rules into effect.

“Becoming incarcerated should not come with a fear of sexual assault, as it too often does in our city’s jails,” James said.

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