Indiana: We Can't Afford to Reduce Prison Rape

State decides it's better off losing federal grants

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 3, 2014 4:51 AM CDT

(Newser) – Indiana's governor says the state will not be implementing federal guidelines for reducing prison rape because the cost is too high and it has other spending priorities. State officials say complying with the Prison Rape Elimination Act passed in 2003 and signed into law by George W. Bush would cost up to $20 million a year, while failure to comply would cause the state to lose only around $345,000 in federal grants per year, the Indianapolis Star reports.

Compliance would "require the redirection of millions of tax dollars currently supporting other critical needs for Indiana," Gov. Mike Pence told the Justice Department in an email, explaining that "many additional staff would need to be hired, additional equipment installed, and resources put in place." States had been given until May 15 to comply with the rape-reduction requirements and while 43 now meet the requirements, Pence is among several Republican governors to have informed the government that they're not going to try, reports Mother Jones. Texas Gov. Rick Perry called the law "counterproductive" and "unnecessarily cumbersome," while Idaho's Butch Otter complained there was "too much red tape."

A cell block is shown at the Pendleton State Prison in Pendleton, Indiana.
A cell block is shown at the Pendleton State Prison in Pendleton, Indiana.   (AP Photo/AJ Mast)
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