Kansas officials pledged to reform oversight at a state prison to better protect female prisoners from sexual abuse, according to an agreement state officials reached Friday with federal authorities.
The deal comes after the U.S. Department of Justice said in 2012 that it had found that women prisoners at the all-female Topeka Correctional Facility were subjected to “a long-standing problem of sexual assault in the prison” tied to several systemic failures, including a lack of management and investigation of “predatory” guards and other prisoners.
Federal investigators said they found rampant sexual misconduct and a lack of reporting of problems due to fears of retaliation.
The agreement calls for Kansas corrections officials to ensure proper staffing levels, supplemented by video camera monitoring, and to provide ways for prisoners to report sex abuse and harassment privately. All reports of sexual abuse must immediately be forwarded for investigation. The state must also improve training, among other provisions.
The agreement calls for a compliance report every six months.
(Reporting by Carey Gillam; Editing by Bill Trott)