Sen. Sessions’ Leadership On Prison Reform

Sessions Key To ‘Pivotal’ ‘Landmark Law … To Address The Scourge Of Sexual Abuse Behind Bars’

PRISON RAPE ELIMINATION ACT OF 2003: Sessions Bill Marked ‘A Sea Change In The Awareness Of Sexual Assaults … Against Incarcerated Men And Women’

Sen. Sessions was one of the driving forces behind S.1435, the ‘Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003’ (S.1435, Signed Into Law 9/4/2003)

SEN. JEFF SESSIONS (R-AL): “I worked with Senator Kennedy to hammer out legislation that I think is important. We have different political philosophies, but we have come together on this issue. … As a Federal prosecutor for 15 years and as an attorney general for Alabama, I sent many guilty criminals to prison where they belong. I believe they should be treated fairly in court, and I treated them fairly. I also believe they should be treated fairly in prison.” (Sen. Sessions, “Prison Rape Elimination Act Of 2003,” 7/28/03)

  • SESSIONS: “Some States have estimated as many as 10 percent or more convicted offenders have been subject to sexual assault in prison. …it is the duty of government officials to ensure that criminals who are convicted and sentenced to prison, serve the sentence imposed by the judge, but not additional sentence of sexual assault. Rape is not a part of any lawful sentence.” (Sen. Sessions, “Prison Rape Elimination Act Of 2003,” 7/28/03)

“THE LATE SEN. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) and Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) did not agree on much. So it was remarkable when they joined to champion the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Enacted in 2003, the landmark law was meant to address the scourge of sexual abuse behind bars that for too long had been accepted as an unavoidable byproduct of incarceration.” (Editorial, “Ending Rape In Prison,” Washington Post, 2/1/11)

  • “Rapes in the American prison system, for decades considered a sordid fact of life, will be analyzed and targeted for prevention under a new government program that marks a sea change in the awareness of sexual assaults by and against incarcerated men and women. … Congressional sponsors ranged from Sen. Edward M. Kennedy (D-Mass.) to Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and supporting agencies ranged from the Christian Coalition to the NAACP.” (“Reform Plan Targets Prison Rape,” Washington Post, 7/26/03)

JUST DETENTION INTERNATIONAL: “‘PREA stands today as one of the most significant human rights victories in modern U.S. history,’ said Lovisa Stannow, JDI’s Executive Director. “The law acknowledged that prisoner rape constitutes a crisis – something many people denied at the time – and that the government has a duty to end this violence. Ten years later, PREA’s transformative impact is undeniable. Corrections facilities are more transparent, and are adopting policies and practices that were simply unheard of before PREA.” (“The Landmark Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Turns Ten,” Just Detention International, 9/4/2013)

  • “Today marks the ten-year anniversary of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), the first federal civil law to address sexual abuse in detention. PREA has sparked a dramatic culture change within U.S. prisons and jails, laying the groundwork for ending sexual violence behind bars. The pivotal law – signed by President George W. Bush on September 4, 2003 – affirms that sexual abuse in detention constitutes a human rights crisis. PREA mandated unprecedented national inmate surveys to study the problem.” (“The Landmark Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Turns Ten,” Just Detention International, 9/4/2013)

Senate Democrats: ‘I Thank Senator Sessions For His Leadership On This’ ‘Watershed Piece Of Legislation’

SEN. DICK DURBIN (D-IL): “I joined with Senator Sessions and some of my other colleagues in passing the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. And I thank Senator Sessions for his leadership on this to eliminate sexual abuse in custody in the United States. We wanted to create a zero tolerance policy.” (Judiciary Committee, U.S. Senate, Hearing, 10/19/11)

  • DURBIN: “I … want to thank my colleague Senator Sessions for his leadership as the lead sponsor of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Senator Sessions and I often disagree, but we have been able to come together across the political divide to work on civil rights issues like prison rape and the sentencing of nonviolent drug offenders. As Senator Kennedy stated about prison rape: ‘It is not a liberal issue or a conservative issue. It is an issue of basic decency and human rights.’” (Sen. Durbin, Press Release, 5/23/12)
  • DURBIN: “Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act, ‘PREA,’ in 2003. This was a bipartisan effort so important that its champions included unlikely bedfellows like Senators Jeff Sessions and Edward M. Kennedy.” (Sen. Durbin, Press Release, 5/23/12)

SEN. PAT LEAHY (D-VT): “Ten years ago this week, Congress passed a watershed piece of legislation. The Prison Rape Elimination Act was the first comprehensive legislative effort to prevent something we had long been reluctant to even acknowledge existed -- the incidence of rape in our federal, state, and local corrections facilities.” (Sen. Leahy, Press Release, 7/26/13)


Related Issues: Law Enforcement