Prison Bureau Reforms After Rape Law Suit

The Bureau of Prisons has agreed to increase its sexual harassment training and provide psychiatric and medical services to inmates who have been assaulted. Prison authorities will also institute a confidential system that will allow inmates to report attacks within the next six months and will stop housing women in the men’s Secure Housing Unit.

The agreement is part of a settlement from a lawsuit filed in August 1996 by three female inmates who charged that they were raped, attacked and sold by guards to male inmates for sex. The women, Robin Lucas, Valerie Mercadel and Raquel Douthit, sued prison authorities in Dublin, California, claiming that the officials knew about the sex-ring and did nothing, even after the women contacted them with their stories.

Plaintiffs’ attorney Geri Lynn Green said, “These women were being sold like sex slaves …. The guards took money from inmates in return for access to the women.”

The women will be paid a total of $500,000 in damages. The prison officials charged with committing the crimes quit or lost their jobs, but did not receive additional punishment.


AP - March 4, 1998

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