Data Show Decrease In Prison Sex Abuse Reports, But Survivor Advocates Say Fear And Ambivalence Persist
For eight months in 1995, LaResse Harvey says, she was held as a sex slave by her cellmate at York Correctional Institution in Niantic. In the 26 years since Harvey’s assault, the landmark Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was signed into federal law. The legislation gave prisoners several avenues to report sexual misconduct; required changes to buildings for added safety, such as adding doors with windows and installing more cameras; and mandated regular audits of each facility. But people incarcerated in Connecticut say they still face sexual abuse from other prisoners and guards and that reporting the crimes isn’t always worth the consequences. “It does not work,” said Harvey, who pushed for PREA in Connecticut after her release from prison and later co-founded the advocacy agency Once Incarcerated.