Inmate Protection Bill Passes Committee

A measure to tackle sexual assaults in prisons was passed unanimously by the House Appropriations Committee today, by a vote of eleven members.

The bill is being carried by Rep. Terrance Carrol, D-Denver, who called the proposal Colorado’s version of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act which was passed by Congress in 2003.

The legislation requires the Department of Corrections and the Division of Youth Corrections (DYC) to take action against assault. It also provides specialized training for corrections officials. “It would prohibit retaliation and disincentives to reporting sexual assaults and would provide an acute trauma care for sexual assault victims and information on assault prevention,” said Rep. Carrol during the hearing.

When Rep. Al White, R-Winter Park, asked if the measure would add any additional requirements to what is already mandated in the federal legislation, Rep. Carrol responded that it did not and noted that corrections officials were already doing what they were obliged to do. 

“This is another situation where the feds have mandated a program and temporarily provided the costs of it and now they are leaving further implementation to the states…is that a fair assessment?” asked committee Chairman Rep. Bernie Buescher, D-Grand Junction.

“Correct, Mr. Chairman,” said Rep. Carrol, who added that a federal grant given to the DYC to help implement sexual assault protections was expected to be terminated next year.

Erin Rosa was born in Spain and raised in Colorado Springs. She is a freelance writer currently living in Denver. Rosa's work has been featured in a variety of news outlets including the Huffington Post, Democracy Now!, and the Rocky Mountain Chronicle, an alternative-weekly in Northern Colorado where she worked as a columnist covering the state legislature. Rosa has received awards from the Society of Professional Journalists for her reporting on lobbying and woman's health issues. She was also tapped with a rare honorable mention award by the Newspaper Guild-CWA's David S. Barr Award in 2008--only the second such honor conferred in its nine-year history--for her investigative series covering the federal government's Supermax prison in the state. Rosa covers the labor community, corrections, immigration and government transparency matters. She can be reached at