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March 2011
Implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act
In This Issue
National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Report
The Prison Rape Elimination Act
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Dear SASP Administrators,

We hope this second e-newsletter finds you well.

As you are gearing up for another year's SASP planning, we wanted to send you a collection of resources regarding the Prison Rape Elimination Act. 

Sexual assault service providers across the country are developing partnerships to help serve survivors of sexual abuse in prison.  These partnerships and services are growing right now, due in part to the availability of funds from the Sexual Assault Services Program.

To support you in your SASP planning, we are hoping that these resources are helpful to you as you continue to develop and enhance statewide sexual assault services that work for all survivors.

As always, we welcome your feedback and look forward to hearing how you put these resources to use in your state.
National Prison Rape Elimination Commission
From the Commission's full report

Rape is violent, destructive, and a crime-no less so when the victim is incarcerated. Until recently, however, the public viewed sexual abuse as an inevitable feature of confinement.

Even as courts and human rights standards increasingly confirmed that prisoners have the same fundamental rights to safety, dignity, and justice as individuals living at liberty in the community, vulnerable men, women, and children continued to be sexually victimized by other prisoners and corrections staff. Tolerance of sexual abuse of prisoners in the government's custody is totally incompatible with American values.

Congress affirmed the duty to protect incarcerated individuals from sexual abuse by unanimously enacting the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003. The Act called for the creation of a national Commission to study the causes and consequences of sexual abuse in confinement and to develop standards for correctional facilities nationwide that would set in motion a process once considered impossible: the elimination of prison rape.

Please read the commission's full report.

About the Prison Rape Elimination Act (2003)

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003(PREA) is the first federal law passed to address sexual violence in prisons and jails. PREA's requirements apply to all detention facilities, including federal and state prisons, jails, police lock-ups, private facilities, and immigration detention centers.

PREA states that sexual assault in detention can constitute a violation of the eighth amendment of the U.S. Constitution and requires that facilities adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this form of abuse. The law calls for the development of national standards addressing prisoner rape, the gathering of nationwide statistics about the problem, the provision of grants to states to combat it, and the creation of a review panel to hold annual public hearings with the best and the worst performing corrections facilities.

For more information, please see Just Detention International's PREA Fact Sheet here.
JDI logoJust Detention International 
Just Detention International (JDI) is an international human rights organization that works to stop sexual abuse in all forms of detention. JDI partners with rape crisis centers and sexual assault coalitions across the country to better meet the needs of inmates who are sexually assaulted while incarcerated.

For more information on prevention sexual abuse in detention, serving survivors of sexual abuse, or JDI in general, please click here.

Tailoring the Prison Rape Elimination Act to a Juvenile Setting
by Heidi Pihl-Buckley

Under the direction of Commissioner Jane Tewksbury, the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) has become a leader in implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Massachusetts regarded the enactment of PREA as an opportunity to fine-tune practices and procedures that were already in place, with careful thought given to achieving the goals of the legislation within a juvenile correctional agency. The issue of how to implement PREA mandates with juveniles (e.g., how to raise safety concerns without creating fear) was of paramount importance in each step of the decision-making process.
Check out the article in its entirety here.

Still in DangerStill in Danger: The Ongoing Threat of Sexual Violence to Transgender Prisoners

Stop Prisoner Rape, ACLU National Prison Project 2005
Eleven years have passed since the Supreme Court's 1994 ruling in Farmer v. Brennan, the precedent-setting case brought by transgender plaintiff Dee Farmer, in which the Court held that prisoner rape is constitutionally unacceptable. In the time since that ruling, transgender inmates in some facilities have seen modest progress toward humane treatment, but sexual violence in detention is still an alarming reality for transgender individuals throughout the country.

For more information, please see the whole article here.

Links to Other Resources       

Resource Sharing Project Resources on Prison Rape Elimination

Standards for the Prevention, Detection, Response, and Monitoring of Sexual Abuse in Adult Prisons and Jails.  National Prison Rape Elimination Commission.  2009.

The Basics about Sexual Abuse in U.S. Detention, Just Detention International, January 2009.

Prison Rape: A Critical Review of the Literature.  Gaes and Goldberg.  National Institute of Justice, 2004.

The Department of Justice's Efforts to Prevent Staff Sexual Abuse of Federal Inmates.  U.S. Department of Justice, Office of the Inspector General.  September 2009.  

No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons.  Human Rights Watch.  2001.
Report on Rape in Jails in the U.S : McFarland, Ellis, & Chunn.  Department of Justice.  2008.

Special Report: Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities, Reported by Youth 2008-09.  Beck, Harrison, & Guerino. Bureau of Justice Statistics. 2010.

Meeting the Needs of Prison Rape Victims: A Technical Assistance Guide for Sexual Assault Counselors and Advocates. Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape. 2006.

Christi Hurt
Resource Sharing Project
The Resource Sharing Project and this newsletter are supported by Grant No. 2009-TA-AX-K037 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.