On Thursday the Justice Department released its findings determining that the Topeka Correctional Facility (TCF), an all-female facility in Topeka, Kan., under the jurisdiction of the Kansas Department of Corrections (KDOC), fails to protect women prisoners from harm due to sexual abuse, misconduct from correctional staff and other prisoners in violation of their constitutional rights. The Justice Department delivered a letter detailing the findings to Governor Samuel D. Brownback and Secretary of the KDOC Ray Roberts.
More from the DOJ on the investigation’s findings:
The investigation concluded that TCF fails to protect women prisoners from sexual abuse and misconduct from correctional staff and other prisoners in violation of their constitutional rights. TCF has a past history of officer-on-prisoner and prisoner-on-prisoner sexual abuse and misconduct. The women at TCF live in an environment with repeated and open sexual behavior, including sexual relations between staff and prisoners and non-consensual sexual conduct between the female prisoners. Much of the inappropriate sexual behavior, including sexual abuse, continues and remains unreported due to insufficient staffing and supervision, a heightened fear of retaliation, a dysfunctional grievance system and inadequate investigative processes. To date, KDOC and TCF have failed to remedy the myriad systemic causes of harm to the women prisoners at TCF despite repeated, well-documented and detailed investigations and audits exposing the problems.
“Our investigation has revealed that multiple deficiencies in the operations of the Topeka Correctional Facility have exposed female prisoners to harm and the serious risk of harm from prisoner-on-prisoner and employee-on-prisoner sexual abuse and assault,” said Thomas E. Perez, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Rights Division. “It is our strong desire to work with both the facility and the Kansas Department of Corrections to implement reforms to address these repeatedly-documented deficiencies.”
The investigation was conducted by the Civil Rights Division’s Special Litigation Section and focused on whether prisoners at the facility were subject to sexual abuse in violation of their constitutional rights.