Back to top

Inmate sexual assault

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 are provided to: Help detect incidents, perpetrators, and inmate victims of sexually abusive behavior; Help prevent sexually abusive behavior; Educate staff to intervene properly and in a timely manner; Document, report, and investigate reported incidents; [and] Discipline and/or prosecute perpetrators” (p. 1). Procedures explain: 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. Also attached is the “PREA Intake Objective Screening Instrument”.

Sexually Abusive Behavior Prevention and Intervention Program Cover

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 investigators who have extensive experience in investigating these and other types of allegations—such as law enforcement agencies—may want to review the curriculum for redundancy with other trainings.

“The curriculum is designed specifically for an audience of correctional investigators, although there is content within the curriculum that also would be beneficial to those who oversee investigations and those who act as first responders.

“The curriculum contains nine modules and includes content on PREA standards relating to investigations; case law demonstrating legal liability issues for agencies, facilities, and investigators to consider when working to eliminate sexual abuse and sexual harassment in confinement settings; proper use of Miranda and Garrity warnings; trauma and victim response; processes of a forensic medical exam; first-response best practices; evidence-collection best practices in a confinement setting; techniques for interviewing male, female, and juvenile alleged victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment; report writing techniques; and information on what prosecutors consider when determining whether to prosecute sexual abuse cases.

“The nine modules and suggested training lengths are as follows: Introduction; Module 1: PREA Update and Standards Overview (1 hour 15 minutes); Module 2: Legal Issues and Liability (1 hour 15 minutes) and presentation slides; Module 3: Culture (1 hour, optional) and presentation slides; Module 4: Trauma and Victim Response (1 hour) and presentation slides; Module 5: Medical and Mental Health Care (1 hour 30 minutes, optional) and presentation slides; Module 6: First Response and Evidence Collection (2 hours) and presentation slides; Module 7: Adult Interviewing Techniques (2 hours 15 minutes) and presentation slides; Module 7: Juvenile Interviewing Techniques (2 hours 15 minutes) and presentation slides; Module 8: Report Writing (30 minutes) and presentation slides; Module 9: Prosecutorial Collaboration (1 hour, optional) and presentation slides.

“In total, the provided training is two days in length, although three of the modules, as noted above, are “optional” in that they do not contain content required by the PREA standards. All of the modules are designed to be modified by each facility and agency to include agency-specific policy and practice guidance in addition to best practice.”

Specialized Training: Investigating Sexual Abuse in Confinement Settings Cover

“The intent of the curriculum is to provide prisons, jails, community confinement, and juvenile detention facilities with specialized training for medical and mental health personnel on specific aspects of Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Specifically, this curriculum provides training on how to detect and assess signs of sexual abuse, preserve physical evidence, and respond effectively and professionally to victims.

“The intended audience is health professionals. This includes but is not limited to physicians, psychologists, nurses, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, health administrators, social workers, and other professionals who provide, support, or administer health care services in correctional environments.

“The curriculum contains four modules and should take four hours to complete, including breaks and time for questions. All modules are considered essential: Facilitators guide; Introduction (10 minutes); Module 1: Detecting and Assessing Signs of Sexual Abuse and Harassment (55 minutes); Module 2: Reporting and the PREA Standards (50 minutes); Module 3: Effective and Professional Responses (30 minutes); [and] Module 4: The Medical Forensic Examination and Forensic Evidence Preservation (60 minutes).”

Specialized Training: PREA Medical and Mental Care Standards Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws prohibiting the sexual abuse of individuals in custody.

State Criminal Laws Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws prohibiting the sexual abuse of individuals in jails.

State Criminal Laws Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws prohibiting the sexual abuse of individuals in lock-ups.

State Criminal Laws Prohibiting Sexual Abuse of Individuals in Lock-Ups Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws prohibiting the sexual abuse of individuals under community corrections supervision.

State Criminal Laws Cover

This map shows those states that do or do not have laws addressing the issue of consent in a relationship between staff and inmates.

State Criminal Laws Cover

Feedback from four executive level regional workshops regarding the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is reported. Extended responses from groups of executive-level administrators and policy makers representing community corrections, prisons, jails, and juvenile justice follow an executive summary. Comments are organized according to the four roundtable groups mentioned above on following themes: critical issues currently faced in the successful implementation of PREA; barriers and obstacles which may be encountered in the implementation of the elements of PREA; and the kind of support that would be helpful from the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) and the other federal partners.


These statistical tables present “jurisdiction- and facility-level counts of allegations and substantiated incidents of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment reported by correctional authorities in adult prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities in 2009, 2010, and 2011. Facilities include the Federal Bureau of Prisons, state prison systems, facilities operated by the U.S. military and Immigration and Customs Enforcement, sampled jail jurisdictions, privately operated jails and prisons, and jails in Indian country … In 2011, correctional administrators reported 6,660 allegations of sexual victimization in prisons. Of these, 605 were substantiated based on follow-up investigation. Local jail authorities reported 2,042 allegations, of which 284 were substantiated. About half (51%) involved allegations of nonconsensual sexual acts or abusive sexual contacts of inmates with other inmates, and half (49%) involved staff sexual misconduct or sexual harassment directed toward inmates.”

Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 - Statistical Tables Cover


Subscribe to Inmate sexual assault