NEWS of the Day - May 24, 2012
on some LACP issues of interest

NEWS of the Day - May 24, 2012
on some issues of interest to the community policing and neighborhood activist across the country

EDITOR'S NOTE: The following group of articles from local newspapers and other sources constitutes but a small percentage of the information available to the community policing and neighborhood activist public. It is by no means meant to cover every possible issue of interest, nor is it meant to convey any particular point of view ...

We present this simply as a convenience to our readership ...


From the L.A. Daily News

Man claims doctor carved KKK into his stomach during surgery, hundreds protest

by The Associated Press Associated Press

(Video on site)

RAPID CITY, S.D. - Hundreds of people marched Monday in support of a man who says the letters KKK were carved into his stomach by a surgeon at a South Dakota hospital.

A YouTube video featuring 69-year-old Vern Traversie, a Lakota man who lives on the Cheyenne River Reservation, has gone viral in Native American communities. In it, Traversie shows a photo of his abdomen. Though he himself is blind, Traversie says he was told by others that the scars left after his heart surgery make out the hateful letters, and he is outraged.

The problem is, not everyone sees it. Like those spotting the Madonna in a water stain, Traversie's advocates are staunch believers. Those who aren't include police who investigated his allegations and hospital officials.

Rapid City police say they conducted an investigation but found no evidence of a crime. Craig Saunders, a cardiologist at Barnabas Hospital in Newark, N.J., said incision marks can take many different shapes, depending on where the doctor needs to get into the body. Saunders, who did not operate on Traversie, said surgical tape also can leave scarring and lesions depend on the make-up of the person's body.

The lack of clear letters hasn't deterred Traversie, his supporters or those who see the scars as just more evidence of continued mistreatment of Native American people.

"Rapid City ... we understand you have been carving up our people. This is going to end today," American Indian Movement

founder Dennis Banks said to a roaring crowd before leading the supporters on a more than two-mile long march from a Rapid City plaza to the hospital where the surgery happened .

While Traversie's story spurred the protest, many in attendance referred to broken treaties, unsolved murders and incarceration rates among Native Americans as their reasons for showing up.

"We're classified as second class citizens," said Hap Marshall, 69, a resident of the Cheyenne River reservation.

"But when they want our votes, we're their brother."

The protest was relatively peaceful. Officers from the Rapid City Police Department blocked off traffic as the supporters, many dressed in red shirts and waving American Indian Movement flags, marched to the beat of a drummer riding in a truck leading the way. Passing cars occasionally honked.

A group of about 15 people - including Banks and Oglala Sioux Vice President Tom Poor Bear - met with officials at the hospital, while police prevented other supporters from entering the building.

The march was largely organized by Cody Hall, who lives on the Cheyenne River Reservation, and Chase Iron Eyes, who lives on the Standing Rock Indian Reservation that straddles the North Dakota-South Dakota border, in an effort to bring attention to what they say is continued mistreatment of Native American people.

Many in the Native American community believe there are different standards of justice for them and for other races, said Stew Magnuson, who writes a column for a Native American newspaper and wrote a book about issues on South Dakota's Pine Ridge Reservation.

Prior to the 1970s and the American Indian Movement, Native Americans felt powerless without representation on juries. AIM changed that by marching into towns and demanding justice, which no one had ever seen before, Magnuson said, adding: "So, I think some of these feelings live on, rightly or wrongly."

As long as the marches and rallies remain peaceful, Magnuson said he believes the demonstrations are an appropriate way for Native Americans to get their voice heard. On the other hand, he said, people can't let rumor and speculation be the narrative of the story.

Some Pine Ridge reservation residents - Native American and non-Native - mentioned a March protest as an example of an instance when demonstrators didn't check their facts beforehand.

In that incident, a group of residents began protesting what they said was a truck carrying materials for TransCanada's Keystone XL project. The Oglala Sioux and Rosebud Sioux tribes have been vocal in their disapproval of the proposed pipeline that would bring oil from Canada's tar sands region in Alberta to refineries along the Texas Gulf Coast.

But the trucks they were attempting to block were not a part of the pipeline, which has been stalled by rejection of a federal permit.



From the Washington Times

Military diligent in quest to locate its missing

Armed forces lab follows leads, finds remains, IDs the fallen

by Kristina Wong

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE , Del. — More than 83,000 Americans are missing from overseas conflicts dating to World War II — and James Canik's mission is to account for each and every one of them.

A daunting task, certainly, but not a solitary one.

As deputy director of the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory, Mr. Canik leads scores of forensic scientists who scour files and test genetic material to determine the identities of the thousands of remains gathered by the Defense Department each year.

Directed by Congress and the Pentagon to capture the phantoms of wars, Mr. Canik , a Vietnam veteran, sees his job as a small part of the military's commitment to honor service members and their loved ones.

“I think what is really important is the fact that we don't forget,” said the 64-year-old former medical evacuation pilot. “We are always going to go back. We're always going to look. We're going to do our best to provide the answers to the families.”

Many Americans will commemorate Memorial Day by remembering the sacrifices of loved ones in the armed services. The Rolling Thunder movement, which on Monday marks 25 years of gathering motorcyclists in Washington to draw attention to the prisoner-of-war/missing-in-action issue, was spurred by those who still grieve with questions about their absent friends and relatives.

Mr. Canik 's lab recently helped provide answers for a family in Bowersville, Ohio.

A family reunited

Army Cpl. Clyde E. Anderson was last seen Nov. 28, 1950, driving a jeep in a convoy along the Chosin Reservoir in North Korea . The convoy was ambushed by communist forces, and he was listed as missing in action.

Cpl. Anderson 's sister Martha , who raised him when he was a boy, held out hope of seeing him again but died in 1994, never knowing what had become of him.

Martha 's daughter, Carol Snider , had heard stories about her uncle Clyde , whom she never met. Still, she needed to know what happened to him and where he was.

This month, the Defense Department announced that the remains of Cpl. Anderson of the 31st Regimental Combat Team, also known as Task Force Faith, had been identified and would be returned to his family for burial with full military honors.

“It was very sad, bittersweet,” said Donald Snider , Mrs. Snider 's husband. “It's a peace of mind. My wife is just ‘wow.' It's a hundred pounds lifted off each shoulder.”

The Sniders attended Cpl. Anderson 's burial May 12 in Blanchester, Ohio.

“It was grand. I had never seen anything like that in all my life,” Mr. Snider said. “The 21-gun salute, the motorcade. … People got out and saluted when they passed. It was unreal.”

Cpl. Anderson was buried beside his sister.

“I was amazed that they were still looking after all these years,” Mr. Snider said. “It's a stroke of luck that he's given back to us. There's so many other boys still there, we pray that they get to come home today.”

‘Keeping that promise'

Defense statistics show 73,681 service members missing from World War II, 7,957 from the Korean War, 126 from the Cold War, 1,666 from Vietnam , and six from Iraq and other recent conflicts.

Finding and identifying just one missing service member can take decades and span the globe.

That work begins with the Joint Prisoners of War/Missing in Action Accounting Comand (JPAC) in Hawaii, where researchers identify sites where the missing could have fallen.

Using records from the National Archives at College Park, Maryland, researchers track down and interview eyewitnesses, piecing together details about the missing's last known whereabouts and the circumstances of the disappearance.

When a site is recommended for excavation, a recovery team of 10 to 15 members — including a lead anthropologist, forensic scientists and archaeologists — is sent to site for up to 60 days and often in harsh conditions.

A medic and an explosive ordnance disposal technician are always part of the team because of the buried explosives in many areas where researchers dig for remains.

Lee Tucker , a public affairs officer for JPAC , said the work is sometimes dangerous. About 10 years ago, he said, a helicopter carrying a recovery team and Vietnamese officials crashed in poor weather, killing all 16 aboard.

“You hear it said that we'll leave no man behind,” Mr. Tucker said. “Literally, we are keeping that promise. We are keeping the nation's promise of leaving no man behind. That's absolutely huge.”

Remains are flown to JPAC 's identification laboratory in Hawaii. Often the remains are so degraded that DNA is the only way to identify the missing.

That is where the Armed Forces DNA Identification Laboratory at Dover Air Force Base comes in.

The DNA difference

The 160 forensic scientists at the Dover lab extract mitochondrial DNA from the remains for identification.

Mitochondrial DNA is long-lasting genetic material that is passed down only on the maternal side. A sample from a relative on the maternal side of a family can be compared with that from remains to determine a familial link.

Analysis of mitochondrial DNA has led to an increased number of identifications, especially recently from the Korean War. Between 1991 and 1994, North Korea gave the United States 208 boxes of remains believed to contain the commingled remains of 200 to 400 U.S. servicemen, known as the “K208.”

Documents accompanying the K208 set of remains indicated that Cpl. Anderson 's were among them. Using the documents, dental and X-ray records, and mitochondrial DNA from his nephew and niece, the researchers were able to identify the long-missing soldier.

JPAC “had cases out there which, unfortunately, because of the conditions of the remains … dental comparisons were not possible, and they could only glean so much from anthropological evaluations of material,” said Mr. Canik , the Dover lab's deputy director.

“So, therefore, DNA then all of a sudden became a very real tool … that we could use in the ID of those deceased service members from Vietnam , Korea, Cold War and World War II losses.”

In fact, forensic scientists can use mitochondrial DNA to identify remains dating back even earlier than World War II. Scientists recently discovered two sets of skeletal remains that could be from the 17 sailors lost on the USS Monitor in 1863 during the Civil War. Researchers and forensic scientists at the Dover lab now are trying to identify which of 17 sailors match the skeletal remains.

The Dover lab also is tasked with collecting mitochondrial DNA from current service members to keep on hand for identification of remains when necessary.

The lab's DNA registry holds more than 6 million bloodstained cards bearing genetic material from every person who has joined the armed forces since 1992.

‘Not just a job'

JPAC 's search and recovery missions and the Dover lab's genetic identification operations are overseen by the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office, an agency of more than 100 civilians and military members who work with the State Department and other nations to negotiate terms for excavations and the transfer of remains.

The office also is responsible for training service members how to survive if they become separated from their units during overseas assignments.

In addition, the office provides families of missing troops with periodic updates on the searches for their loved ones and, through each service's casualty office, notifies those families when remains are identified.

Meanwhile, JPAC carries out about 70 excavations a year, and identifies the remains of about 80 missing personnel each year, thanks in large part to the mitochondrial DNA analysis conducted by the Dover lab.

Last year, Congress ordered the Defense Prisoner of War/Missing Personnel Office's units to identify 200 remains a year beginning in 2015, increasing the budget from $70 million last year to $100 million this year.

Mr. Tucker, a JPAC spokesman, said he is confident that the goal will be reached. He cited the unit's talented, dedicated staff and significant technological advances.

“I have never been in an organization where everybody is passionate and dedicated and focused on this project,” he said. “It's not just a job to anybody here.

“There's such a sense of pride and devotion to doing this, being able to provide closure and healing to family members who have been grieving for 60 years. … It's an amazing thing that we're doing.”

Researchers, scientists and their bosses met recently with family members in Indianapolis as part of a periodic outreach program, which Mr. Canik takes personally.

“We're trying to provide those answers to those families [who] still have a void that exists out there,” he said.

“I'm a Vietnam veteran, and that is my generation. I always remind myself that it could have been me. I might not have come back,” he said. “I would have really liked someone to maybe have pursued that if something would have occurred where I did not make it home.”



From Google News

Broken windows theory of community policing will get major test in Detroit

by Brian Dickerson

Three decades after he and his late colleague, James Q. Wilson, first described their "broken windows" theory of policing in a celebrated magazine article, criminologist George Kelling is bringing to Detroit their now-conventional wisdom about how to maintain law and order.

In a 90-day pilot program underwritten by a conservative think tank in Manhattan, Kelling, now in his 70s, and Michael Allegretti, a 33-year-old policy wonk defeated in a 2010 bid for Staten Island's congressional seat, will try to stem an outbreak of home invasions in Detroit's Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood -- one of a handful of residential areas city planners have deemed stable, densely inhabited and worthy of aggressive public investment.

First articulated in a 1982 essay for the Atlantic Monthly, the broken windows theory suggests that the slippery slope to lawlessness begins when a community starts tolerating relatively minor violations of public order -- vandalism of abandoned structures, minor traffic violations, loitering and the like -- and that cracking down on such nuisances discourages more serious crimes such as robbery, burglary and assault.

Although some critics suggest its impact has been overstated, broken windows policing is generally credited with contributing to dramatic reductions of crime in New York and Los Angeles, where top cops have applied Wilson and Kelling's theories for decades.

But can it really make a difference in Detroit neighborhoods where unbroken windows have become the exception to the rule?

"I guess I'd urge you to look past the broken windows metaphor," Allegretti said Wednesday in a phone conversation from his office at the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research, a libertarian-leaning think tank founded in 1978 by William J. Casey, who would later become Ronald Reagan's presidential campaign manager and CIA director.

What he and Kelling hope to promote in the Grandmont-Rosedale neighborhood, Allegretti said, is a more collaborative relationship in which residents observe and record suspicious activity and cops call attention to minor infractions without issuing tickets or making arrests.

He and Keller have already helped Detroit police identify parolees and former offenders who live in the area and are considered high risks to commit new crimes, and teams including cops and Department of Corrections workers will soon begin making house calls on them, with the dual purpose of steering them to social service providers and making them aware they're under the community's scrutiny.

They'll measure their success by monitoring the number of home invasions, which they expect to decrease, and the number of nonemergency contacts between police and the community, which they hope will soar.

Where's the time?

And where will a police department that currently lacks the resources to answer many emergency calls find time to engage in more "proactive" contacts? I asked Allegretti.

"We're talking about making more efficient use of the police officers' time," he said. "Simply responding to calls, as Chief (Ralph) Godbee has said, is like swimming upstream."

It would be difficult to overstate the skepticism with which Detroiters have responded to this week's low-key rollout of the Manhattan Institute initiative. Allegretti hopes to convert naysayers by showing measurable progress in the span of a single summer -- ample time, he says, to know whether the project is having an impact.

His employer has stacked the deck, he added, by focusing its efforts on one of the city's most stable neighborhoods -- an area marked by high levels of home ownership and well-established neighborhood associations: "You start," he said, "where you know you can have some success."

Unlike other private foundations that have committed millions of dollars to supplement or replace vanishing public resources, the Manhattan Institute is paying only for the time and travel expenses of its two employees. The institute said its small footprint was dictated by neighborhood residents, who told Allegretti any project that required the expenditure of new public or private funds would be unsustainable in the long run. That part they got right for sure.

I told Allegretti I wished him well but suspected that he and Kelling had arrived in Detroit at least a couple of decades late.

"I understand," he said. "But if you Google 'South Bronx in the late '70s,' you'll see photographs that look strikingly similar to what you see around you now. They thought things were beyond hope, too -- but they were wrong."



Feds say there is no opting out of “Secure Communities” policing

by Taylor Dobbs

A federal information-sharing policy newly implemented in Vermont has put the state's look-the-other-way, bias-free policing policy in jeopardy.

The policy, Secure Communities, uses existing procedure and infrastructure to assist the Department of Homeland Security's Immigration and Customs Enforcement division in catching illegal immigrants.

Before Tuesday, when state or local police in Vermont made an arrest and submitted the suspect's fingerprints into the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) database, the fingerprint information only went to the FBI database. The fingerprints were checked against known criminals or outstanding warrants, allowing for increased law enforcement capability across state lines.

Secure Communities is simple: It takes down a previously existing division between the FBI fingerprint database and ICE, thereby allowing immigration officials to track and investigate arrested individuals in Vermont.

In a statement, ICE Spokesman Ross Feinstein noted that since the beginning of the program's nationwide rollout in 2008, “Secure Communities has helped ICE remove more than 135,000 convicted criminal aliens including more than 49,000 convicted of major violent offenses like murder, rape and the sexual abuse of children. Approximately 95% of the 179,000 removals generated through Secure Communities clearly fell within one of ICE's enforcement priorities.”

But critics of the program say the cost is too high. Migrant Justice, a Vermont-based activist group focused on the migrant community, held a protest outside Obama's Vermont campaign headquarters Tuesday.

Danilo Lopez, a volunteer for the group, is in the process of fighting deportation after a state trooper pulled over a car he was riding in.

“I, in September of last year, was a passenger … the State Police stopped the car for speeding and the trooper saw my skin color and said ‘Hey, are you illegal? I need your papers,' and pressured and pressured, and the trooper caller border patrol to arrest me,” Lopez said in a mix of English and Spanish.

Stories like this one shed a different light on the issue. Lopez was not committing a crime when the state police stopped the car he was in, and he says discriminatory policing led to the charges against him.

About 50 people marched through Burlington passing out orange pamphlets calling Obama “Deporter-in-Chief” that criticize the president for lack of follow through on campaign promises of immigration reform.

The pamphlet says Obama deported 1.4 million immigrants, set aggressive annual deportation quotas of 400,000, and is now imposing “S-COMM” nationwide without consultation.

Other communities have resisted Secure Communities, including Santa Clara County, California, where the county's board of supervisors voted to opt out of the program. Tuesday's protestors called on Vermont to do the same.

But Feinstein says there is no opting out of the program.

“The information-sharing partnership between DHS and the FBI that serves as the cornerstone of Secure Communities is mandated by federal law,” Feinstein said in an email statement. “As a result, Secure Communities is mandatory in that, once the information-sharing capability is activated for a jurisdiction, the fingerprints that state and local law enforcement voluntarily submit to the FBI for criminal justice purposes to be checked against the Department of Justice's (DOJ) biometric identification system for criminal history records are automatically sent to DHS's biometric system to check against its immigration and law enforcement records.”

Thus, the only way for Vermont to opt out of the program is to cease voluntary submission of fingerprints into the FBI database.

When asked what he thought about the possibility of opting out of the program, Gov. Peter Shumlin said:

“It's no secret that our national immigration policies don't necessarily synch with the way that we see things here in Vermont, and I've been pretty clear and outspoken about that,” Shumlin said. “We cannot get milk to market, our farmers cannot thrive in a tough economy without some guest labor, we know that. We also know that we want to treat anyone who is working in the state Vermont with the dignity and respect they deserve and make them part of the community, not isolate them so they can't get to the doctors, can't get to the grocery store for fear of being found. Right now, the policy has been that whenever we do an arrest in America fingerprint arrested person and send that to a database with the FBI. They're now going to share that with immigration. I've asked my commissioner, Keith Flynn, to sit down with some of the groups we've been working with on other issues and look at this issue and see if we can help mitigate some of their concerns.”

Commissioner of Public Safety Keith Flynn was unreachable for comment Wednesday.



From the White House

Everyone Can Find a Way to Honor our Service Members

This op-ed by Dr. Jill Biden was first published in The Hill

Over the past few years, I have been blessed with the opportunity to spend time with our veterans, troops and military families. With every visit, I come away inspired.

They are military spouses, who balance work, family and school — all while dealing with the emotions of a deployment. They are military children, who move from school to school while picking up extra chores while their dad or mom is away serving our country. They are survivors of our fallen, who are pillars of strength for their communities. And of course, they are our troops, veterans and wounded warriors, who have dedicated their lives to defending America.

This Memorial Day, we must remember that these heroes are found in every corner of our country, from big cities to rural areas, from base communities to small towns. But no matter where they are assigned or what their duties are, when our service members are called to serve, so too are their families.

That's why one year ago, first lady Michelle Obama and I launched Joining Forces, an initiative to bring Americans together to recognize, honor and serve our nation's veterans and military families. Joining Forces focuses on three key areas — employment, education and wellness — while raising awareness about the service, sacrifice and needs of our troops, veterans and their families.

When we first started thinking about this concept, we were pretty confident that Americans would answer the call. But the response we've seen in our first year has been simply overwhelming.

When we encouraged America's businesses to hire our veterans and military spouses, more than 1,600 of them joined in — from Sears and Safeway to Siemens and Snap-On Tools. Already, they have hired more than 70,000 veterans and military spouses, and they have pledged to hire at least 160,000 more in the coming years.

Since the Military Spouse Employment Partnership launched last June, more than 22,000 military spouses have been hired. Just last week, I was pleased to announce another 34 companies have signed on to the partnership, which already includes 100 Fortune 500 “Plus” employers.

When we looked to America's healthcare providers, 135 medical schools, more than 500 nursing schools and more than 3 million healthcare providers stepped up and said they would work to improve care for veterans and military families.

When we asked educators to meet the needs of our military-connected students, the American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education and the Military Child Education Coalition started Operation Educate the Educators to encourage teacher colleges to adopt guiding principles to better prepare educators.

States across the country are implementing the Interstate Compact on Educational Opportunity for Military Children, which helps ease some of the many challenges military children face when transferring schools due to a parent's reassignment. In April, Georgia became the 42nd state to enact the compact.

When we asked Americans to find ways to honor our military families, they answered by giving more than 13 million volunteer hours right in their own communities.

It has happened over and over again — from faith communities to high schools, to state legislatures and everywhere in-between — every time we have issued a call, Americans have stepped up to support these brave families.

The best part about this effort is that everyone can find some way to give back. It might be sending care packages or messages of thanks. It might be volunteering with a veterans service organization in your area, or it might be putting a focus on military families through your business, organization, school or faith community.

This Memorial Day, I am asking you to please visit JoiningForces.gov, where you can see what others are doing and learn about more than 50,000 service opportunities.

There is more work to be done. If every American can find his or her own way to serve — if we all join forces — then we can show our servicemen and women, our veterans and our military families that all the love, support and action from this past year is simply the beginning.

Learn more about Joining Forces:

Dr. Jill Biden is the Second Lady of the United States



From the Department of Justice

Justice Department Releases Final Rule to Prevent, Detect and Respond to Prison Rape

Landmark Regulation Contains New Standards to Combat Sexual Abuse in Confinement Facilities

WASHINGTON - The Justice Department today released a final rule to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse in confinement facilities, in accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA). This landmark rule sets national standards for four categories of facilities: adult prisons and jails, lockups, community confinement facilities and juvenile facilities. Today's rule is the first-ever federal effort to set standards aimed at protecting inmates in all such facilities at the federal, state and local levels.

“The standards we establish today reflect the fact that sexual assault crimes committed within our correctional facilities can have devastating consequences – for individual victims and for communities far beyond our jails and prisons,” said Attorney General Eric Holder. “These standards are the result of a thoughtful and deliberative process – and represent a critical step forward in protecting the rights and safety of all Americans.”

The standards have three clear goals: to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse.

Prevent: To prevent sexual abuse, the standards require, among other things, that facilities:

  • Develop and maintain a zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse;
  • Designate a PREA point person to coordinate compliance efforts;
  • Screen inmates for risk of being sexually abused or sexually abusive, and use screening information to inform housing, bed, work, education and program assignments;
  • Develop and document a staffing plan that provides for adequate levels of staffing and, where applicable, video monitoring;
  • Train employees on their responsibilities in preventing, recognizing and responding to sexual abuse;
  • Perform background checks on prospective employees and not hire abusers;
  • Prevent juveniles from being housed with adult inmates or having unsupervised contact with adult inmates in common spaces;
  • Ban cross-gender pat-down searches of female inmates in prisons and jails and of both male and female residents of juvenile facilities;
  • Incorporate unique vulnerabilities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex and gender nonconforming inmates into training and screening protocols;
  • Enable inmates to shower, perform bodily functions and change clothing without improper viewing by staff of the opposite gender;
  • Restrict the use of solitary confinement as a means of protecting vulnerable inmates; and
  • Enter into or renew contracts only with outside entities that agree to comply with the standards.

Detect: To detect sexual abuse, the standards require, among other things, that facilities:

  • Make inmates aware of facility policies and inform them of how to report sexual abuse;
  • Provide multiple channels for inmates to report sexual abuse, including by contacting an outside entity, and allow inmates to report abuse anonymously upon request;
  • Provide a method for staff and other third parties to report abuse on behalf of an inmate;
  • Develop policies to prevent and detect any retaliation against those who report sexual abuse or cooperate with investigations; and
  • Ensure effective communication about facility policies and how to report sexual abuse with inmates with disabilities and inmates who are limited English proficient;

Respond: To respond to sexual abuse, the standards require, among other things, that facilities:

  • Provide timely and appropriate medical and mental health care to victims of sexual abuse;
  • Where available, provide access to victim advocates from rape crisis centers for emotional support services related to sexual abuse;
  • Establish an evidence protocol to preserve evidence following an incident and offer victims no-cost access to forensic medical examinations;
  • Investigate all allegations of sexual abuse promptly and thoroughly, and deem allegations substantiated if supported by a preponderance of the evidence;
  • Discipline staff and inmate assailants appropriately, with termination as the presumptive disciplinary sanction for staff who commit sexual abuse;
  • Allow inmates a full and fair opportunity to file grievances regarding sexual abuse so as to preserve their ability to seek judicial redress after exhausting administrative remedies; and
  • Maintain records of incidents of abuse and use those records to inform future prevention planning.

In addition, the standards require that each facility be audited every three years to assess compliance.

The standards set forth in the final rule are binding on the Federal Bureau of Prisons. With regard to states, those that do not comply with the standards are subject to a five percent reduction in funds they would otherwise receive for prison purposes from the department unless the governor certifies that five percent of such funds will be used to enable compliance in future years. No organization responsible for the accreditation of correctional facilities may receive any federal grants unless it adopts accreditation standards consistent with the standards set forth in the final rule.

The administration has also determined that PREA applies to all federal confinement facilities, including those operated by executive departments and agencies other than the Department of Justice. According to a presidential memorandum issued today, other federal departments with confinement facilities will work with the attorney general to issue rules or procedures that will satisfy the requirements of PREA, in recognition of the fact that each federal agency is accountable for the operations of its own facilities and, therefore, is best positioned to determine how to implement federal laws and rules that govern its operations and the safety of persons in its custody. Those agencies will work with the attorney general to propose, within 120 days of the date of the Presidential Memorandum, any rules or procedures necessary to satisfy the requirements of PREA, and to finalize any such rules or procedures within 240 days of their proposal.

Congress unanimously passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003 and created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission to recommend a set of standards to the attorney general, after which it disbanded pursuant to the act. After receiving the commission's recommendations in 2009, the attorney general convened an intradepartmental PREA working group that was tasked with reviewing the commission's recommendations and collecting public feedback on the commission's proposal. Last year the department published a draft rule for public comment.

The final rule reflects careful consideration of all public input, including over 1300 public comments on the proposed rule, as well as detailed analysis of anticipated benefits and costs, in light of PREA's requirement that the standards not “impose substantial additional costs compared to the costs presently expended by federal, state and local prison authorities.” The department also is seeking additional comment on a standard that mandates specified staff-to-resident ratios in secure juvenile facilities.

To assist federal, state and local agencies in their compliance efforts, the department has funded the National Resource Center for the Elimination of Prison Rape to serve as a national resource for online and direct support, training, technical assistance, and research to assist adult and juvenile corrections, detention, and law enforcement professionals in combating sexual abuse in confinement. Focusing on areas such as prevention strategies, improved reporting and detection, investigation, prosecution, and victim-centered responses, it will identify promising programs and practices that have been implemented around the country and demonstrate models for keeping inmates safe from sexual abuse. The center will offer a full library, webinars and other online resources and will provide direct assistance through skilled and experienced training and technical assistance providers. The department also funds the National Center for Youth in Custody to assist facilities in addressing sexual safety for youth.

The department is also continuing grantmaking to support state and local demonstration projects aimed at combating sexual abuse in confinement facilities, through the Bureau of Justice Assistance. In addition, the National Institute of Corrections will develop electronic and web-based resource materials based on the standards set forth in the final rule.

The final rule is being sent to the Federal Register today for publication.

The rule may be read in its entirety at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/programs/pdfs/prea_final_rule.pdf.

The Executive Summary is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/programs/pdfs/prea_executive_summary.pdf.

The Regulatory Impact Assessment, which summarizes the costs and benefits of the rule, is available at www.ojp.usdoj.gov/programs/pdfs/prea_ria.pdf.

The Presidential Memorandum is available at www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2012/05/17/presidential-memorandum-implementing-prison-rape-elimination-act.

For more information on the National Resource Center for the Elimination of Prison Rape, visit www.prearesourcecenter.org.



From the FBI

Domestic Threat - White Supremacy Extremism


It was a gruesome and hateful crime—three men with white supremacist tattoos punching and kicking the face and body of an African-American man at a bus stop in Houston last summer simply because of the color of his skin. All three were recently convicted of the attack, following an investigation by the FBI and its partners.

It's not an isolated case. It seems like a throwback to a different era, but white supremacy—which sees whites as inherently superior to those of other races—still exists in America today. Having those kinds of beliefs is not against the law…as a matter of fact, it's protected by the First Amendment. But white supremacy becomes a crime—and for the FBI, a form of what we call extremism—when it is furthered through threatened or actual use of force or violence or other illegal activity.

The Bureau has been investigating the criminal activities of white supremacy extremists like Ku Klux Klan members since as early as 1918. Today's extremists are more challenging than ever. They're affiliated with a variety of white supremacy groups, and they can be motivated by any number of religious or political ideologies. We're also seeing more lone offenders and small, violent factions of larger groups at work, which makes detection of these crimes tougher.

White supremacy extremists specifically target racial, ethnic, and religious minorities; the federal government; and in some instances, even each other. Their tactics include assault, murder, threats and intimidation, and bombings. They also commit other kinds of crimes—like drug trafficking, bank and armored car robberies, and counterfeiting—to fund their hate-filled activities.

Over the years, the federal government has successfully charged white supremacy extremists using a number of federal statutes, including civil rights violations, racketeering, solicitation to commit crimes of violence, firearms violations, explosives violations, counterfeiting and forgery, and witness tampering.

In recent months, the FBI has led or participated in a number of significant investigations involving violence or attempted violence by self-admitted white supremacists.

A few examples:

  • In February 2012, an Arizona man was sentenced to federal prison after pleading guilty to possessing and transporting improvised explosive devices near the U.S.-Mexico border. Details
  • In January 2012, the last of four Arkansas defendants charged with firebombing the home of an interracial couple was sentenced to federal prison. Details
  • In December 2011, a Washington man was sentenced to 32 years in prison for attempting to bomb a Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Day march in Spokane. Details
  • In May 2010, an Oregon man pled guilty to mailing a hangman's noose to the home of the president of a local NAACP chapter in Ohio. Detail

Moving forward, we see three keys to turning back the ongoing scourge of white supremacy extremism:

  • Our increased emphasis on the lawful gathering, analyzing, and sharing of intelligence on current and emerging trends, tactics, and threats.
  • Continued collaboration with our local, state, tribal, and federal partners, especially on our Joint Terrorism Task Forces around the nation.
  • And most importantly, the support of Americans who find these types of crimes abhorrent and antithetical to our way of life.

If you have information on domestic terror threats of any kind, submit a tip or contact your local FBI field office.