Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

 

What is PREA?

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed in 2003. It is a federal law established to address the elimination and prevention of sexual violence and sexual misconduct in correctional and juvenile systems. PREA applies to all federal, state, and local prisons, jails, police lock-ups and community settings such as residential facilities. The purpose of the act is to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations, and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.”

The act also created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, whose responsibility was to conduct studies of policies and practices and develop standards to enhance detection, prevention, reduction and punishment of sexual assault in prison settings. The National PREA Standards for Juvenile Facilities became effective on August 20, 2012.  Agencies are required to comply with these standards by demonstrating zero tolerance; not merely by words and written policy, but through their actions, including what they do to prevent sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment and the response when this occurs.

 

Zero Tolerance:

Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) is committed to providing a safe and secure environment, free from all forms of sexual misconduct and retaliation.

JJS has ZERO TOLERANCE for sexual misconduct and maintains comprehensive procedures regarding prevention, detection and response to such conduct.

All sexual misconduct regardless of consensual status is prohibited and subject to disciplinary action and possible criminal prosecution.

JJS encourages all clients, employees, visitors, contractors, volunteers, and student interns who suspect, or witness any sexual misconduct to make a report.

 

What is Sexual Misconduct?

  • Requests for sexual favors, sexual acts or sexual contact.
  • Influencing, promising or threatening a client’s safety, custody or security level, including recommendations for court actions, privacy, housing, privileges, work detail or program status in exchanges for sexual favors.
  • Promise of protection in exchange for sexual favors.
  • Statements, comments or innuendo made directly or indirectly concerning the sexual orientation or perceived sexual orientation of any person.
  • Employees having intimate or close relationships with a client defined as any relationship beyond the boundaries of a professional relationship.
  • Employees engaging in intimate conversation or correspondence with a client.
  • Employees engaging in undue familiarity by exchanging personal information with clients such as letters, pictures, phone.
  • Viewing an unclothed client or watching a client perform bodily functions for reasons unrelated to official duties.
  • Any verbal, non-verbal or physical conduct which is sexual in nature or sexually suggestive.
  • Creating an intimidating, hostile or offensive environment by engaging in or permitting sexually offensive behavior or language that is directed at or observable by clients or others.
  • Kissing, hugging, fondling, or other touching of an individual’s breast, genitals, anus, or other intimate area either directly, or through clothing for sexual arousal, gratification, or abuse.

 

How to Report Sexual Misconduct:

If you wish to report an alleged incident of sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual misconduct or sexual harassment on behalf of an offender you may:

Criminal investigations of PREA allegations are investigated by the New Mexico State Police. Administrative investigations of PREA allegations are investigated by the CYFD Office of Inspector General or facility Grievance Officer.

Emergency Grievances at Secure Facilities

PREA defines an "emergency grievance" as an allegation that a client is subject to substantial risk of imminent sexual abuse. JJS documentation refers to "PREA emergency grievances" as substantial threats that include substantial risk of imminent physical and/or sexual abuse.

To report a substantial threat:

  • Call the JJS Facility Confidential Reporting Number (1-855-563-5065), or
  • Notify an employee of the facility.

Anyone can call the JJS Facility Confidential Reporting Number or submit a grievance on a client's behalf.

The JJS Confidential Reporting Line and the facility Grievance Boxes are checked at least once every 24 hours.

When a substantial threat is received, the Superintendent/Office in Charge (OIC) of the facility is immediately notified, and immediate actions are taken to ensure the safety of the client who is the subject of a substantial threat. The Superintendent/OIC's immediate action may include notifying law enforcement and/or the on-call BH clinician, separating clients, separating clients and employees, and/or assigning one-on-one supervision.

Within 48 hours of receiving a substantial threat, the Superintendent/OIC meets with the client. The client explains the substantial threat and the resolution sought, and the Superintendent/OIC communicates the immediate action taken to address the substantial threat.

 

Resources:

 

Aggregated Data:

PREA standard 115.387 requires data be collected and aggregated on sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment incidents for CYFD-JJS facilities.

 

PREA Audit Reports:

In accordance with PREA standards 115.401 Frequency and scope of audits, and 115.403 Audit contents and findings: