Prison guards could face charges of felony rape for having consensual sex with inmates under legislation that received final approval Monday, some three months after Kentucky ordered 400 women removed from a lockup where allegations of sexual misconduct had become widespread.
Gov. Steve Beshear said he intends to quickly sign the measure into law.
“This legislation offers greater protections for inmates in our custody, and helps eliminate activities that can create security risks in our prisons,” Beshear said. “Additionally, this measure, which has been a priority for my administration since I took office, further bolsters our commitment to ensure the safety of female inmates.”
Earlier this year, Beshear ordered all the female inmates removed from the corporate-run Otter Creek Correctional Complex in eastern Kentucky after allegations of sexual misconduct were made against the predominantly male corps of corrections officers.
State Sen. Julie Denton, R-Louisville, said the Kentucky Department of Corrections sought unsuccessfully to get the legislation passed last year. With the Otter Creek controversy fresh on lawmakers’ minds, the measure passed both the Senate and House unanimously.
Denton said Otter Creek “underscored the problem and showed that we really do need some additional weapons in the arsenal to deter this.”