U.S. Department of Justice

PREA / Offender Sexual Abuse

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA, P.L. 108-79) was enacted by Congress to address the problem of sexual abuse of persons in the custody of U.S. correctional agencies. The National Institute of Corrections has been a leader in this topic area since 2004, providing assistance to many agencies through information and training resources.

Major provisions of PREA include:


  • Adherence to a zero-tolerance standard for the incidence of inmate sexual assault and rape;
  • Development of standards for detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape;
  • Collection and dissemination of information on the incidence of prison rape; and
  • Award of grant funds to help state and local governments implement the purposes of the Act.

The Act applies to all public and private institutions that house adult or juvenile offenders and is also relevant to community-based agencies. It addresses both inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse and staff sexual misconduct.

On June 23, 2009, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission released and forwarded to the U.S. Attorney General its final report and proposed standards to prevent, detect, respond to and monitor sexual abuse of incarcerated and detained individuals. Based on the Attorney General’s independent judgment, a final rule was published to the Federal Register on June 20, 2012.

Links to the Federal Register, the Commission report and executive summary, the final standards, and other relevant documents are provided in the "Related Web Sites" sidebar to the left.


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Recommended Reading

Date Title Type
2012
Document preview
Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Resources
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC); The Moss Group, Inc. (Washington, DC).
This DVD contains NIC videos, DOJ proposed standards, an NIC e-course and dozens of documents to help you learn about the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The disc includes:
  • the E-Course “Your Role: Responding to Sexual Abuse”
The following videos:
  • Facing Prison Rape: How the Prison Rape Elimination Act Affects You
  • Responding to Prisoner Rape: Assessing Your Agency's Response to Prison Sexual Assault
  • Keeping Our Kids Safe: PREA and Juvenile J... Read More
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1 data DVD
2013
Document preview
Recommendations for Administrators of Prisons, Jails, and Community Confinement Facilities for Adapting the U.S. Department of Justice’s “A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, Adults/Adolescents”
U.S. Dept. of Justice. Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) (Washington, DC).
“This guide is designed to assist administrators of prisons, jails, and community confinement facilities in drafting or revising protocols for an immediate response to reports of sexual assault. Sexual assault is a persistent problem in correctional environments with life-altering consequences for victims as well as for the integrity of correctional institutions and the fundamental principles of justice. The U.S. Department of Justice’s “National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Pris... Read More
PDF
66 pages
2013
Document preview
Implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act: Toolkit for Jails
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC); NIC-12RE05GKJ5.. The Moss Group, Inc. (Washington, DC).
UPDATED 11/26/13: Minor edits. “The goal of this Toolkit is to provide jails of all sizes, political divisions, and geographic locations with a step-by-step guide for preventing, detecting, and eliminating sexual abuse of inmates in their custody – and for responding effectively to abuse when it occurs. Prison rape includes all forms of inmate sexual abuse within a correctional facility, including state and federal prisons, county and municipal jails, police lock-ups, holding facilities, inmate ... Read More
PDF
1 computer file
2013
Document preview
Implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act: Toolkit for Juvenile Agencies and Facilities
NIC-12RE05GKJ5; National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC). The Moss Group, Inc. (Washington, DC).
“The goal of this Toolkit is to provide juvenile agencies and facilities of all sizes, political divisions, and geographic locations with a step-by-step guide for preventing, detecting, and eliminating sexual abuse of residents in their custody – and for responding effectively to abuse when it occurs. Prison rape includes all forms of resident sexual abuse within a correctional facility, including state and federal prisons, county and municipal jails, police lock-ups, holding facilities, residen... Read More
PDF
1 computer file
2012
Document preview
PREA Data Collection Activities, 2012
By Beck, Allen J.. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (Washington, DC).
Selected findings are provided from various data collection activities related to the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Data was collected from the National Former Prisoner Survey (NFPS), National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC), National Inmate Survey (NIS), Survey of Sexual Violence (SSV), and the Clinical Indicators of Sexual Violence in Custody (CISVC).... Read More
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4 pages
2013
Document preview
Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by Inmates, 2011–12
By Beck, Allen J.; Berzofsky, Marcus; Caspar, Rachel; Krebs, Christopher. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (Washington, DC).
This report present statistics regarding the sexual victimization of prison and jail inmates by other inmates or staff. Sections of this publication cover: highlights; National Inmate Survey; incidents of sexual victimizations; facility-level rates; demographic and other characteristics; special inmate populations—inmates ages 16 to 17; special inmate populations—inmates with mental health problems; and special inmate populations—inmates with a non-heterosexual sexual orientation. Some of the ke... Read More
PDF
108 pages

Related Resources

Date Title Type
2014
Document preview
PREA: What You Need to Know
Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). Just Detention International (JDI) (Los Angeles, CA); PREA Resource Center (PRC) (Washington, DC).
This resource is a must have for your agency! “The core goal of PREA: What You Need to Know is to teach inmates about their right to be free from sexual abuse and sexual harassment. The video gives an overview of corrections policies to prevent and respond to this abuse, covering how inmates can safely report abuse, the types of victim services available to inmates following an incident of sexual abuse, and what it means for a facility to have a “zero-tolerance” policy. Corrections agencies can ... Read More

16 minutes + 35 pages
2014
Document preview
PREA and LGBTI Rights
By Schuster, Terry. American Jail Association (AJA) (Hagerstown, MD).
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) inmates are especially at-risk for sexual assault. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) provides guidance for ensuring that LGBTI inmates do not become victims of sexual abuse and harassment. This article is an excellent explanation of the “basic protections [required by PREA] for LGBTI inmates that every juvenile and adult correctional system will need to put in place and offer some extra provisions they should adopt to become models o... Read More

5 pages
2014
Document preview
PREA and LGBTI Rights
By Schuster, Terry. American Jail Association (AJA) (Hagerstown, MD).
Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) inmates are especially at-risk for sexual assault. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) provides guidance for ensuring that LGBTI inmates do not become victims of sexual abuse and harassment. This article is an excellent explanation of the “basic protections [required by PREA] for LGBTI inmates that every juvenile and adult correctional system will need to put in place and offer some extra provisions they should adopt to become models o... Read More

5 pages
2014
Document preview
Sexually Abusive Behavior Prevention and Intervention Program
United States. Bureau of Prisons (BOP) (Washington, DC).
This document intends to “provide a written policy that implements zero tolerance toward all forms of sexual activity, including sexual abuse and sexual harassment, and to provide guidelines to address the following prohibited and/or illegal sexually abusive behavior involving: Inmate perpetrator against staff victim; Inmate perpetrator against inmate victim; [and] Staff perpetrator against inmate victim. This policy also covers incidents involving contractors and volunteers. These guidelines ar... Read More

63 pages
2014
Document preview
6 CFR Part 115: Standards To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Sexual Abuse and Assault in Confinement Facilities; Final Rule
U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security (DHS). Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) (Washington, DC).
“The purpose of this regulatory action is to set standards to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse in Department of Homeland Security (DHS) confinement facilities. Sexual violence, against any victim, is an assault on human dignity and an affront to American values” (p. 13100). Provisions of these standards are broken down into parts covering “two distinct types of facilities: (1) Immigration detention facilities, which are overseen by ICE and used for longer-term detention of aliens in ... Read More

85 pages
2014
Document preview
Hearings on Sexual Victimization in Certain U.S. Prisons, Jails, and Juvenile Correctional Facilities
U.S. Dept. of Justice. Review Panel on Prison Rape (Washington, DC).
This website provides access to written testimony and meeting transcripts for: Hearings on Sexual Victimization in U.S. Jails, January 8, 2014; Hearings on Sexual Victimization in U.S. Prisons, January 8, 2014; and Hearings on Sexual Victimization in U.S. Juvenile Correctional Facilities, January 9, 2014. Dr. Reginald Wilkinson introduced the hearings by saying, “At times over the next day and a half, we are going to hear testimony from juvenile agencies, from adult institutional agencies, and ... Read More

2014
Document preview
Environmental Scan 2013 8th Edition
National Institute of Corrections Information Center (Aurora, CO).
“Beginning in the late 1990’s, the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) Information Center began scanning social, economic and corrections issues to inform the development of programs and services offered by NIC. This report, now in its 8th edition, has continued to evolve into a popular tool corrections practitioners also use to inform their work in jails, prisons and community corrections. Since there are many issues beyond what is addressed in this environmental scan that potentially will ... Read More

34 pages
2014
Document preview
Guidance for Governors to Ensure Certification of State Compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act
U.S. Dept. of Justice. Office of the Assistant Attorney General (Washington, DC).
Instructions are provided to state governors on how to show their state is in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). The two attached forms are to be used to indicate their state’s compliance with PREA or the state’s intent not to use more than 5% of certain federal grants to achieve full compliance. The grants involved are the Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant Formula Program, the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act Formula Grant Program, and the STOP (... Read More

6 pages
2014
Document preview
Sexual Victimization Reported By Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009–11
By Beck, Allen J.; Rantala, Ramona R.. U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) (Washington, DC).
This report presents “counts of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment reported to correctional authorities in adult prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2009, 2010, and 2011. An in-depth examination of substantiated incidents is also presented, covering the number and characteristics of victims and perpetrators, location, time of day, nature of the injuries, impact on the victims, and sanctions imposed on th... Read More

60 pages
2013
Document preview
Specialized Training: Investigating Sexual Abuse in Confinement Settings
U.S. Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) (Washington, DC). The Moss Group, Inc. (Washington, DC).
This training program “is designed to address the requirements outlined in the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standard 115.34/.134/.234/.334 requiring specialized training for individuals tasked with investigating alleged incidents of sexual abuse in confinement settings. Additionally, this curriculum contains the information fundamental to understanding the concepts required by PREA standard 115.34/.134/.234/.334 and best practice in investigating incidents of sexual abuse. Agencies with in... Read More

2013
Document preview
Implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act: Toolkit for Jails
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC); NIC-12RE05GKJ5.. The Moss Group, Inc. (Washington, DC).
UPDATED 11/26/13: Minor edits. “The goal of this Toolkit is to provide jails of all sizes, political divisions, and geographic locations with a step-by-step guide for preventing, detecting, and eliminating sexual abuse of inmates in their custody – and for responding effectively to abuse when it occurs. Prison rape includes all forms of inmate sexual abuse within a correctional facility, including state and federal prisons, county and municipal jails, police lock-ups, holding facilities, inmate ... Read More
PDF
1 computer file
2013
Document preview
Implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act: Toolkit for Jails
National Institute of Corrections (Washington, DC); NIC-12RE05GKJ5.. The Moss Group, Inc. (Washington, DC).
UPDATED 11/26/13: Minor edits. “The goal of this Toolkit is to provide jails of all sizes, political divisions, and geographic locations with a step-by-step guide for preventing, detecting, and eliminating sexual abuse of inmates in their custody – and for responding effectively to abuse when it occurs. Prison rape includes all forms of inmate sexual abuse within a correctional facility, including state and federal prisons, county and municipal jails, police lock-ups, holding facilities, inmate ... Read More
PDF
1 computer file

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Available Training Opportunities

  • Available Online - Your Role: Responding to Sexual Abuse
    This e-course is designed to enhance correctional professionals’ skills in responding to incidents and allegations of sexual abuse.
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