On June 20, 2012, The U.S. DOJ published the Final Rule creating standards as required by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The standards apply to adult prisons and jails, juvenile correctional facilities, police lockups, and community residential centers. The standards, which took effect on August 20, 2012, seek to prevent sexual abuse and to reduce the harm that it causes. The standards are grouped into 11 categories: prevention planning, responsive planning, training and education, screening for risk of sexual victimization and abusiveness, reporting, official response following an inmate report, investigations, discipline, medical and mental care, data collection and review, and audits.
Compliance with the overall PREA standards also requires compliance with the audit standards (§ 115.93, §115.193, §115.293, §115.393, §115.401-405). Under the audit standards, one-third of each facility type operated by an agency, or by private organization on behalf of the agency, must be audited within each year of a 3-year audit cycle. The first audit cycle began on August 20, 2013.
Funding under the PREA Program is from the 5% set-aside under the Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program (JAG). The program provides funding to eligible applicants for demonstration projects within confinement settings, including adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, community corrections facilities, law enforcement lockups and other temporary holding facilities, and tribal detention facilities. Recipients must successfully communicate a comprehensive approach to the prevention, detection, and response to the incidence of sexual abuse and clearly prioritize gaps which are as of yet unaddressed, either programmatically or through changes in policy and procedures, as they relate to implementation of the PREA standards.
Goals, Objectives, and Deliverables
The goal of this program is to assist facilities in implementing prevention, identification, and response mechanisms that will reduce the incidence of sexual abuse in confinement facilities. Funding will provide assistance to implement comprehensive demonstration projects in local adult and juvenile correctional facilities to meet the PREA requirements of the standards.
Objectives under this program include the following:
- Increase awareness of the problem of sexual harassment, abuse, and assault in adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, community corrections facilities, law enforcement lockups and other temporary holding facilities, and tribal detention facilities. Use local data to identify causes and contributing factors leading to sexual victimization.
- Track performance indicators to ensure the effective application of policy and implementation of program strategies which achieve compliance with the PREA standards and create a “zero tolerance” culture within confinement environments.
- Provide resources to develop comprehensive programs, strategies, and policies that will enhance state, local, or tribal government’s abilities to achieve compliance with the PREA standards and eliminate sexual abuse.
The deliverables under this program should include comprehensive design elements to reduce sexual victimization and reach the goal of a “zero tolerance” and should focus on systemic changes as opposed to discrete changes in single facilities or operational practices. Design elements of a comprehensive response may include the following:
- Policy and practice review and revision
- Preventative infrastructure and technology enhancements
- Inmate/detainee/resident education
- Victim support services
- Leadership and assessment of organizational culture
- Data collection
- Staffing support and training