The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was signed into law in September 2003 by the President of the United States. PREA establishes a zero-tolerance standard against all forms of sexual abuse and sexual harassment of incarcerated persons of any age.
The act also created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, whose responsibility was to conduct studies of policies and practices concerning sexual assault in prisons and jails, and develop draft standards to enhance detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of sexual assault in prison settings. These standards were published in June 2009, and then reviewed by the Department of Justice for approval and passage as a final rule. The National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape were adopted and became effective August 20, 2012. These standards have subparts to address adult prisons and jails, lockups, community confinement, and juvenile facilities. The juvenile standards cover the following topics:
- Prevention Planning
- Supervision and Monitoring
- Staffing Juvenile Facilities
- Juveniles in Adult Facilities
- Cross-Gender Searches and Viewing
- Training and Education
- Responsive Planning
- Medical and Mental Health Care
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual, Intersex (LGBTI) Youth
- Youth with Disabilities and Limited English Proficient (LEP) Youth
The juvenile standards can be found here.
In 2011, OJJ applied for and received grant funding from the Bureau of Justice Assistance to augment its compliance efforts. The PREA grant has allowed the agency to enhance leadership training, assess and improve the sexual safety of its secure and non-secure facilities, and initiate improved data collection of incidents that occur within the facilities. Also, through grant funds, OJJ has organized a multi-state leadership workgroup to develop best practices regarding cultural change in juvenile agencies.
OJJ has made it a top priority to maintain full compliance with PREA.
Reporting a PREA Incident
All reports of sexual abuse or sexual harassment will be investigated and addressed. Youth, employees, and third parties can report incidents of sexual abuse or sexual harassment in verbal or written formats. All parties can file a report with the Office of Juvenile Justice by calling the Investigative Services hotline at 1-800-626-1430. Reporters can remain anonymous or provide contact information in the event more information is needed.
National PREA Sites:
- National PREA Resource Center
- National Institute of Corrections
- The American University Washington College of Law Project on Addressing Prison Rape
- The Moss Group, Inc.
- Bureau of Justice Assistance
- Just Detention International
- Bureau of Justice Statistics National Survey of Youth in Custody 2012, Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012
Louisiana PREA-related Sites
Louisiana Foundation against Sexual Assault: A membership organization of sexual assault crisis centers across the state of Louisiana.