Inmate advocates worry about fate of federal law meant to eliminate rape in prisons

When Congress passed a law in 2003 aimed at ending sexual assault in U.S. prisons, jails and juvenile detention centers, survivors were hopeful that it would help solve the long-ignored problem.

Now, some of the inmate advocacy groups and rape survivors worry that a proposal to reduce the law's financial penalties will severely damage it. Its sponsor, Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, vows to re-introduce it in the new GOP-controlled Congress.

He said the funds include grants for worthy programs, such as ones that support rape and domestic violence victims outside of prison. He says the law should be more narrowly tailored to affect money for prison construction, operations and administration.

Advocates say the measure is the latest sign that the law's implementation is too slow.