Community , Health

Nation signs MOU with Hominy prison to provide sexual assault counseling services

The Osage Nation signed a memorandum of understanding with the Dick Conner Correctional Center in Hominy to offer sexual assault counseling services to incarcerated victims.

Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear signed the MOU in late May and Janet Dowling, warden of the DCCC, signed the document on June 1, according to a news release. The Nation’s Family Violence Prevention Department will be providing the services as part of new FVPD initiatives to address the Nation’s needs and those of the extended non-Osage community within Osage County.

“I am unaware of any other tribe, in any state, that is providing these services for incarcerated victims,” said Olivia “Libbi” Gray, director of the FVPD. “We are (also) very excited to assist Dick Conner Correctional Center with maintaining its compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).”

According to the National PREA Resource Center, PREA was passed in 2003 with unanimous support from both parties in the U.S. Congress. The purpose is to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in federal, state and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape,” according to the center’s website.

Per the MOU, the Nation’s FVPD will respond to sexual assault reports to provide services including medical and legal advocacy, emotional support, referrals, information, crisis management, and follow-up crisis counseling by request of the offender-victim or the facility. As many as 26 counseling sessions can be provided for the offender-victim and as deemed necessary by the facility and FVPD in conjunction with the wishes of the offender-victim, the news release stated.

Located north of downtown Hominy, the DCCC is a state-operated medium-security prison with a minimum-security unit and total capacity of 1,196 male inmates, according to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.