Connect

Projects: National Prison Rape Elimination Commission

Congress established NPREC in 2003 as part of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. During the 20 years prior to enacting this legislation, it estimated that more than 1 million people had been sexually assaulted while incarcerated.
Vera staff provided technical assistance to help the commission develop its standards, which were submitted for public comment in 2008. The commission will incorporate public feedback into a final version of the standards and present them to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Attorney General, along with a final report and recommendations.

Congress established NPREC in 2003 as part of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. During the 20 years prior to enacting this legislation, it estimated that more than 1 million people had been sexually assaulted while incarcerated.
Vera staff provided technical assistance to help the commission develop its standards, which were submitted for public comment in 2008. The commission will incorporate public feedback into a final version of the standards and present them to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Attorney General, along with a final report and recommendations.
Why Work on Prison Rape?
People who have been raped in prison often suffer long-lasting physical and psychological symptoms that hinder their ability to function. Moreover, lawsuits for the criminal and medical repercussions of such incidents constitute a substantial drain of government resources. As a first step, the commission conducted a thorough study of the way prison sexual assaults affect federal, state, and local governments, and society at large. The standards, shaped by these findings, seek to create policies to address this issue.
For more information about the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, visit www.nprec.us.

04/04/2014
Posted by
  • Expert profile

    History

It’s been more than ten years since Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), and in February, the Southwest Idaho Juvenile Detention Center became the first juvenile facility—and one of the first correctional facilities of any kind—to...
09/03/2013
Posted by
  • Expert profile

    History

Ten years ago today, President George W. Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) into law. For the victim advocates, attorneys, and survivors who had been striving for more than two decades to shed light on the issue of sexual abuse...
05/21/2012
Posted by
  • Expert profile

    History

Last Thursday, nearly nine years after Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA), the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) issued the first set of binding national standards to address sexual abuse in U.S. confinement settings. The...

 

NEW YORK ― The Vera Institute of Justice issued the following statement today in response to the May 17 release by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) of its final regulations on the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA):

The Department of Justice's release of the National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape marks a milestone in corrections. As members of the National PREA Resource Center Task Force, the Vera Institute of Justice fully supports the standards and looks forward to the next phase of implementation.

Overall, the standards will go a long way toward the elimination of sexual abuse in confinement settings. In particular, there are a number of standards that aim to ensure the safety of vulnerable inmates and provide victims with access to services and supports in a coordinated, victim-centered manner. Some of these include:

  • cross-gender supervision: prohibition of cross-gender strip searches and viewing, and a phased-in ban to prohibit cross-gender pat-downs except in exigent circumstances;
     
  • screening: prohibition on placing victims in segregation unless there is no alternative means for separating the victim and perpetrator;
  • audit: facility audits every three years by an external auditor certified by DOJ;
     
  • access to victim advocates: access to outside victim advocates with as much confidentiality as possible;
     
  • medical: sexual assault forensic medical examinations to be conducted by trained sexual assault nurse examiners; provision of prophylaxis to treat sexually transmitted infections; and availability of all lawful pregnancy options;
     
  • LGBTI (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex) inmates: training for staff on how to screen inmates; no automatic segregation of LGBTI inmates; complete ban on searching or physically examining a transgender inmate to determine genital status; LGBTI inmates allowed to shower separately; housing assigned based on security needs and inmate's own view on safety;
     
  • reporting: requirement for at least two internal reporting options and one external reporting channel and ability to report anonymously;
     
  • administrative remedies: no time limit for the submission of grievances related to sexual abuse.

We also look forward to the development of standards by the Department of Homeland Security and the Bureau of Indian Affairs to ensure the safety of detainees at immigration detention centers and inmates held in Indian Country facilities.

###