Mayor signs executive order banning prison rape in Philadelphia

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 Mayor Michael Nutter signing the executive order banning sexual assaults in Philadelphia prisons (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Mayor Michael Nutter signing the executive order banning sexual assaults in Philadelphia prisons (Tom MacDonald/WHYY)

Philadelphia now officially has a “zero tolerance” policy about sexual assault in city prisons.  

Mayor Michael Nutter signed the executive order, which complies with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act and bans sexual assault in prisons.

“It also highlights and recognizes the LGBT community in prisons as one of the most targeted and vulnerable communities to this type of violence,” Nutter said.

Because of the order, Prisons Commissioner Lou Giorla says every staff member who interacts with inmates will be trained to prevent sexual assaults.

“We do not want to fulfill the myth of prisoner custody where individuals might be subject to sexual assault or harassment,” he said.

A special video explaining the policy is shown daily on Philly prisons’ closed-circuit video channel.

A spokesperson for Mayor-Elect Jim Kenney says the incoming administration has not seen the executive order yet, so can’t say whether it will continue when Kenney takes office next month.  However, says the spirit of the order is “very much” in line with Kenney’s focus on criminal justice reform.

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