Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
PREA IN GEORGIA
The Eighth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution forbids cruel and unusual punishment - a ban that requires juvenile or corrections staff to take reasonable steps to protect individuals in their custody from sexual abuse and sexual misconduct whenever the threat is known or should have been apparent. In Farmer v. Brennan, the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that deliberate indifference to the substantial risk of sexual abuse violates an incarcerated individual’s rights under the Eighth Amendment.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003 affirmed the duty that Congress had to protect incarcerated individuals from sexual abuse. 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 of the elimination of prison rape.
STAFF TRAINING AND YOUTH EDUCATION
PREA is Good Safety and Security
The agency requires all employees, contractors, volunteers and interns to complete training on youth right to be free from sexual abuse, the right of youth and employees to be free from retaliation for reporting sexual abuse, the dynamics of sexual abuse in confinement, and the common reactions of sexual abuse victims.
During the intake process, staff will inform youth of the agency’s zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse and how to report incidents or suspicions of sexual abuse in an age-appropriate fashion. The youth will complete the “Youth Safety Guide” within 72 hours of arrival to a facility/program/office (owned, operated or contracted).
REPORTING AND INVESTIGATIONS
Good Safety and Security is Good Intelligence
All facilities/programs/offices (owned, operated or contracted) are required to use the agency Policy 8.5, Special Incident Reporting for the official reporting of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
The Office of Investigations will investigate all allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, including third-party and anonymous reports, and notifies victims and/or other complainants of investigation outcome and any disciplinary or criminal sanctions, regardless of the source of the allegation.
Good Intel Leads to Good Prevention
- All new contracts or contract renewals will include the contractor’s obligation to adopt and comply with the PREA standards and specify that the agency will monitor the contractor’s compliance.
- Facilities/programs/offices will ensure that youth who are limited English proficient (LEP), deaf or disabled are able to report sexual abuse to staff directly, through interpretive technology, or through non-youth interpreters.
- Facilities/programs/offices will not hire or promote anyone who has engaged in sexual abuse in an institutional setting or who has engaged in sexual activity in the community.
- The agency will implement a toll-free number to allow youth and staff to report incidents of sexual assaults or sexual abuses without fear of reprisal.
The Georgia Department of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) mandates a ZERO TOLERANCE policy toward all forms of sexual abuse and harassment. The policy provides guidelines for staff to reduce the risk of sexual abuse within DJJ facilities/programs/offices (owned, operated or contracted).
Youth who engage in sexual assaults or sexual abuse will be strongly disciplined and may be referred for criminal prosecution.
Employees who engage in sexual assault or sexual abuse with youth will be terminated from employment and will be referred for criminal prosecution when applicable.
7 STEPS OF PREA
1. PREA is Good Safety and Security
2. Good Safety and Security is Good Intelligence
3. Good Intelligence Leads to Good Prevention
4. Good Prevention Leads to Good Detection
5. Good Detection Leads to a Good Response
6. Good Response Leads to Good Monitoring
7. Good Monitoring Leads to a Good PREA Program Model
REGARDING THE DJJ GEORGIA ONLINE TIP LINE
“This TIP-Line was set up to provide another channel for reporting sexual abuse, sexual harassment, staff misconduct and policy violations.”
Information shared on the DJJ TIP-Line can include the names of victims and identify their alleged assailants, so the TIP-Line can actually result in arrests and prosecutions.
Whether it’s inside or outside our secure facilities we want youth in all our programs to use the TIP-Line to speak up and say ‘NO’ to sexual abuse. We want to make sure our residents are never intimidated about seeking help if they ever encounter abuse.
We also want our DJJ statewide staff to know we’re listening in the Commissioner’s Office. If our staff or public partners have something important to report and they want to keep it anonymous, all they have to do is fill out the email form on the TIP-Line site.
A single tip of confidential information about potential gang activity, contraband smuggling or unlawful policy violations can have a positive impact on our safety and security, prevent an injury or even save a life.
“This TIP-Line is another essential security tool we’re using to make this agency one of the best in the nation.”
“We encourage anyone who sees something to say something to help safeguard our youth and staff.”
DATA COLLECTION, REVIEW & MONITORING
Good Prevention Leads to Good Detection
- The Facilities/Programs/Offices (owned, operated or contracted) will use the standardized Special Incident Reporting Policy to collect accurate, uniform data for every reported incident of sexual abuse and set of definitions.
- The Facilities/Programs/Offices (owned, operated or contracted) will treat all instances of sexual abuse as critical incidents to be examined by a team of management staff. Each facility will have a Sexual Assault Response Team (SART)
- The Facility PREA Point-of-Contact will conduct an annual self-assessment of the facility as instructed by the Agency PREA Coordinator.
- The agency PREA Coordinator will conduct an annual Comprehensive on-site evaluation of each facility.
- Qualified auditors will conduct an independent PREA audit every three years.