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PREA / Offender Sexual Abuse

PREA Cover

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.

Division: 
Prisons Division
Jails Division