Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kentucky Equality Federation condemns treatment of incarcerated LGBTI citizens at Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard

Richmond, Ky. - Kentucky Equality Federation, a statewide equality organization, condemns the lack of responsiveness by the Kentucky River Regional Jail in Hazard, Ky. Despite the fact that jail officials have been notified of a growing trend of sexual assault and harassment by straight inmates against LGBTI inmates, there has been no effort to curb the situation by segregating the jail.

On several occasions, jail officials have hung up the telephone of Kentucky Equality Federation Outreach Directors. Additional complaints continue to be taken by Southeastern Kentucky Regional Management.

Due to the lack of response by jail officials, a distinct lack of effort on their part to resolve this, and the increased number of complaints, Kentucky Equality Federation has filed complaints with the Kentucky Office of Attorney General and appropriate federal enforcement agencies.

"It really is quite disturbing that harassment and assault don't provoke a response," said Kentucky Equality Federation President Joshua Koch. "Inmates have rights. They are citizens and human beings. While they are incarcerated, they are especially vulnerable under confinement, and we owe it to them to make sure they are not subjected to criminal abuse, regardless of what they stand accused of.

"It is our opinion that jail officials have and continue to show a callous disregard for basic human decency by failing to protect its LGBTI inmates from abuse. I also remind the public that just because you are arrested for something does not make you guilty. We presume innocence until guilt is proven, and this principle is a fundamental American value."

Koch continued: "Kentucky Equality Federation's Southeastern Kentucky Regional Director, Will Taylor, will continue to monitor the situation and report any additional violations to the Office of the President. Any additional violations will be reported to the above-mentioned agencies. The safety, dignity, and due process rights of all Kentuckians are paramount concerns of our organization."