ACLU Files Motion to Compel DOC

Affiliate: ACLU of Delaware
February 28, 2013 1:53 pm

ACLU Affiliate
ACLU of Delaware
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Wilmington, DE (February 28, 2013)— The American Civil Liberties Union of Delaware filed a motion in U.S. District Court yesterday seeking to compel the Delaware Department of Corrections to implement zero tolerance sexual abuse policies that it was ordered to implement in September 2011. According to a court ordered settlement agreement, DOC and Baylor Women’s Correctional Institution were required to make policy, procedure and institutional changes to protect women incarcerated in Baylor and to provide better services to women if they are the victims of a sexual assault by September 15, 2012. Compliance has not occurred.

The 2011order was part of the settlement of a case brought against DOC officials by a woman raped by a guard at Baylor prison. ACLU lawyers argued in that case that the rape was made more likely by deficient policies and procedures in the prison, so the settlement order required specific changes in operations.

Richard Morse, legal director of the ACLU of Delaware, said, “the ACLU has gone back to court now because, despite repeated follow-up meetings, emails and phone calls with prison and DOC officials and lawyers, many of the required changes have not been made. The Department of Correction must comply immediately with the existing federal court order if it is to adequately protect the woman at Baylor from the risk of rape and other sexual abuse.”

The ACLU motion asserts that, among other violations, DOC and Baylor prison officials have failed to complete a sexual abuse zero tolerance policy for Baylor, have not adopted a plan to provide a unified mission and vision for effective work with female prisoners, and have not implemented appropriate staff training and supervision. DOC has also failed to install sufficient cameras to monitor housing units, the kitchen and common areas accessed by inmates, particularly locations that have been the site of sexual assault in the past because they are isolated or unmonitored.

Other aspects of the settlement that have not been met include: providing inmates with a comprehensive handbook on how to report abuse; giving inmates access to a toll free 800 number to privately and securely report sexual abuse; not hiring the additional guards needed to prevent one guard from being alone and unwatched with a single inmate; and failing to provide adequate medical and mental health care for inmates who are victims of sexual abuse.

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