Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) 2003 prohibits and seeks to eliminate sexual assaults and sexual misconduct in correctional institutions. Sexual abuse encompasses (1) inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse, (2) inmate-on-inmate sexual harassment, (3) staff-on-inmate sexual abuse, and (4) staff-on-inmate sexual harassment.

PREA Policy

It is the policy of the TDOC to provide a safe, humane and secure environment free from threat of sexual abuse for all offenders in custody by maintaining a program of prevention, detection, response, investigation and tracking of all alleged sexual abuse. TDOC has a zero tolerance policy for incidences of sexual abuse within its facilities.

Action Plan

TDOC has adopted the Department of Justice Title 28 Code of Federal Regulations Part 115 National Standards to prevent, detect and respond to prison rape.

  • Pursuant to Tennessee criminal laws, the Tennessee Department of Correction is committed to protecting offenders in its custody from sexual contact or sexual misconduct.
  • TDOC employs a PREA Coordinator charged with the responsibilities of developing, implementing, and monitoring the department's PREA programming and report responsibilities. The department has dedicated this full-time position to serve as the agency's point of contact regarding all PREA-related matters. This position provides consultation and guidance to facilities' staff with respect to PREA implementation and monitoring, as well as provide oversight of PREA training to staff. The PREA Coordinator analyzes reported data and keeps prison officials briefed on developing trends, lessons learned, and best practices for detection and prevention of sexual assault and sexual misconduct.
  • The Associate Warden of each institution serves as the facility PREA team leader.

Employee Awareness and Education

All employees receive training about the federal law, state law, and departmental policy governing sexual contact with offenders.

All employees receive training concerning their duty to report rumors or allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct, to whom they should report, how they should report, and when they should report such incidents.

All employees receive training about how to detect an unreported incident of sexual abuse.

Vendors, contractors and volunteers authorized to have contact with offenders must read the department's zero-tolerance policy statement and sign to indicate agreement to abide by its terms.

Offender Awareness and Training

Offenders receive written notice and training on how to avoid becoming a target for sexual abuse.

Offenders receive notice in the offender handbook that sexual contact is strictly prohibited and may be punishable by disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.

Offenders receive training on what to do if they have become a victim of sexual assault, including the various reporting methods and how to preserve physical evidence.

Each facility has a free and confidential PREA TIP LINE to allow offenders to report incidents of sexual abuse without fear of reprisal.

Offender Classification and Housing

TDOC is committed to providing safe environments for offenders in its custody.

All offenders receive a comprehensive evaluation during initial intake to identify risk factors associated with sexual abuse and potential victimization.

Specialized instruments, one for males and one for females, screen for sexual aggressive and sexual victimization tendencies. There is further evaluation during intake using the Level of Service/Case Management Inventory with a focus on aggressor and victim information.

Offenders identified as aggressors or victims of sexual abuse are closely monitored and all movements are coordinated across departments to prevent incidents.

Response to Sexual Assault or Sexual Misconduct Allegations

Employees have a duty to report all rumors and allegations of sexual abuse through the chain of command.

Institutional Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) ensure alleged victims of sexual abuse receive immediate medical attention.

The facility SART ensures alleged victims of sexual abuse receive a mental health evaluation.

All allegations of sexual abuse will be reported to Internal Investigators for investigation.

In addition to the facility PREA TIP lines, TDOC has established a TIP line for third-party reporting of sexual abuse and sexual assault at (615) 253-8178.

Investigation of Sexual Assault and Sexual Misconduct

The department is dedicated to producing quality investigations of alleged sexual abuse incidents.

All investigators receive specialized training specific to sexual assaults in correctional institutions.

The TDOC Law Enforcement Unit, in consultation with the department's legal office, aggressively refer substantiated cases of sexual assault by offenders or employees to the local district attorney's office for criminal prosecution.

PREA Audits

Final PREA audit reports are now available.