When Marilyn Shirley dares to remember, she can still smell the prison guard who assaulted her. While locked behind bars for a non-violent drug offense, this mother and grandmother was brutally raped by one of the prison staff. Her horror only intensified when the man spat into her ear, “Who are you going to tell? Do you think people will believe you, a no-good criminal, or me, an upstanding prison guard?”
Marilyn’s story is shared by over 60,000 prisoners. Men and women who were raped by prison officials or other inmates. Men and women whose bodies and minds are forever scarred by the most horrific and degrading attacks.
Today, however, these victims are hearing a message of hope. After years of interviews and study, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission is releasing its report and standards to the public. The report will shine light on the sexual attacks that occur throughout our prisons and jails, and the standards will hold prisons accountable to prevent, detect, and report rape.
Prison rape is not a joke. It’s the worst kind of assault against God’s image bearers. It’s time for the court of public opinion to call our prisons to account and say “no more.” The Commission’s work gives us a powerful tool to do this.
Justice Fellowship director Pat Nolan is a member of the Commission and has worked incredibly hard to make the report and standards a reality.He is in Washington, D.C., today to participate in press conferences announcing the study’s release.To get updates throughout the day, visit Justice Fellowship’s Twitter Page.