Lambda Legal is a national organization committed to achieving full recognition of the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV through impact litigation, education and public policy work. You can also find Lambda Legal on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.
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Stop Prison Rape in Texas!
Tell Gov. Abbott to Stop Prison Rape! The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is a federal law designed to eliminate sexual abuse of people in custody. PREA was created after years of study by a bipartisan, federal commission, passed unanimously by Congress, and signed into law by President George W. Bush. Although Texas prisons have the highest rates of sexual violence in the country, both former Texas Governor Rick Perry and his successor, Governor Greg Abbott, have refused to fully implement PREA, calling the law an “unnecessarily cumbersome and costly regulatory mess for the states.” People housed by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice (TDCJ) have reported to Lambda Legal that, in one Texas prison, officers from the TDCJ ignored an assault that happened right in front of them. In another, they refused to let an inmate report sexual assault, calling them a liar. People incarcerated in Texas deserve protection from sexual abuse without qualifications or exceptions. Governor Abbott can change the lives of thousands of Texans by acting to reduce sexual assault in Texas prisons. Lambda Legal, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit committed to achieving full recognition of civil rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community and those with HIV through impact litigation, education, and public policy work, and community partners are demanding that Governor Greg Abbott and PREA Ombudsman Lynne Sharp fully implement and abide by the Federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Join us in telling them to stop prison rape by adding your name to this petition and sharing it with your network. Demand Justice for the Incarcerated in Texas: “Somebody, somehow, needs to shed light on what is taking place here in Texas prisons. TDCJ officials get away with so much and disregard so many legitimate threats to people’s safety... I fight for my life every day in here. Safety from rape and assault is not a privilege; it’s a right.” – Passion Star In October 2014, Lambda Legal filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Passion Star, a transgender woman currently incarcerated in a men’s prison in Texas. Ms. Star has been repeatedly raped, beaten, and threatened with murder since entering TDCJ custody in 2002 at the age of 19. In November 2013, after reporting the sexual threats against her, her face was slashed multiple times by a man who told her that he “owned” her. Instead of protecting her, TDCJ officers have told her to “fight,” or to stop “acting gay”. Prison officials have forced her to endure long periods of isolation - in one case, over 100 days. Only last year, after months of litigation by Lambda Legal, did TDCJ officials agree to place her in safekeeping. Passion’s case does not exist in isolation. A full implementation of PREA standards would help protect the incarcerated from the maltreatment that Passion received and, ultimately, would ensure that rape is not part of anyone’s sentence. Statistics on TX Prison Rape: • According to a 2013 Bureau of Justice Statistics report, there are more facilities in Texas with the highest levels of sexual assault than in any other state. • Of the 10 prisons with the highest rates of reported rapes in the nation, half are in Texas. • Experts across the nation recognize that sexual violence in custody disproportionately affects LGBT people. LGBT people in Texas prisons face a high risk that sexual assault and exploitation will become a part of their prison sentence. “Safety from rape and assault is not a privilege; it’s a right.” Instead of callously denying Passion and other incarcerated people their right to protection, the governor of Texas needs to take action to end sexual violence in Texas’ prisons and jails. Governor Abbott and PREA Ombudsman Sharp can ensure that rape is not part of anyone’s sentence in Texas prisons simply by joining the majority of the nation in enacting the PREA standards. Tell Governor Abbott and PREA Ombudsman Sharp to implement PREA standards by signing and sharing Lambda Legal’s petition today.