In a letter to Eric Holder, Pence said complying with the Prison Rape Elimination Act “would require the redirection of millions of tax dollars currently supporting other critical needs for Indiana.”
Indiana is one of seven states to tell the Department of Justice that it will not follow federal guidelines designed to reduce prison rape and sexual abuse. The law was passed in 2003, and governors had a May 15 deadline to inform the Justice Department whether they were in compliance or planned to be.
Indiana Department of Correction spokesman Doug Garrison said it would cost the state $15 million to $20 million a year to follow the guidelines, mostly because they require hiring more staff.
He said the DOC already has put many rape prevention measures in place on its own, including a rape complaint coordinator in every prison.
Pence, in his letter, said meeting the federal mandate wasn’t feasible.
“Many additional staff would need to be hired, additional equipment installed, and resources put in place,” he wrote.All seven states refusing to comply with the federal law have Republican governors, including Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Nebraska, Texas and Utah, in addition to Indiana. Interestingly, the federal law passed the House of Representatives in 2003 without a dissenting vote when Pence was still a member of Congress.