The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed and signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2003. It was the first federal civil statute to focus on addressing sexual violence in juvenile facilities, jails, prison, lockups and other secure facilities. This Act established the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. One of its most significant tasks was to carry out studies on how prison rape affected the country and to recommend national standards “for enhancing the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape.” The proposed standards were released in June, 2009, and the Commission was disbanded, pursuant to the statute.
The proposed standards went through extensive periods of public comment and adjustments,and the final standards were released by the Attorney General on June 20, 2012, with an implementation date of August 20, 2012. The first audit cycle will be from August 20, 2013-August 20, 2014, and the Governor will have to certify that facilities are compliant.
For more information, go to the National PREA Resource Center.
All DJJ staff members are responsible for making DJJ facilities safe and for doing their part to prevent, detect, and report sexual assault and sexual harassment. This effort begins with staff members being respectful of residents and supporting a culture that does not tolerate sexual abuse or sexual harassment. All staff members receive extensive education on how to identify behaviors that put residents at risk and how to respond. Staff members are also given multiple ways to report sexual assault or sexual harassment of a resident.
The Board of the Department of Juvenile Justice has a zero tolerance policy toward any incident involving the sexual assault, sexual harassment or rape of a resident and the Department makes the prevention, detection, and response to such incidents a priority in all facilities housing committed juveniles. Below are the latest DJJ reports on sexual violence: