Prison Rape Elimination Act
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is a federal law enacted in 2003 with the goal of eliminating sexual abuse in confinement settings.
The purpose of the act is to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations, and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.” The act also created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, which is charged with developing draft standards to prevent, detect, and respond to prison rape. Those standards were subsequently submitted to the Department of Justice for review. The final rule was signed on May 16, 2012, and the standards became effective August 20, 2012. A copy of the PREA Standards for Juvenile Facilities can be found at the National PREA Resource Center website.
The Department of Children's Services shall be committed to a zero-tolerance standard for all forms of sexual abuse/assault/misconduct/harassment or rape within its Youth Development Center facilities and contracted Private Provider Agencies that provide congregate care for children/youth and shall be committed to reducing the risk of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, assault, misconduct and rape through implementation of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) as outlined in Public Law 108-79, Section 3. Department of Children's Services PREA policy can be found in policy 18.8.
Department of Children's Services (DCS) is committed to ensuring the safety of the youth committed to its care, including protecting them from sexual abuse and sexual misconduct. DCS employs a PREA Coordinator charged with developing, implementing, and overseeing agency efforts to comply with the PREA standards in all of its facilities. 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 facility and private provider staff with respect to PREA implementation and monitoring. In addition, each facility has appointed a PREA Compliance Manager responsible for coordinating the facility's efforts to comply with the PREA standards.
All employees receive training concerning their responsibilities under PREA, as well as their duty to report all allegations of sexual abuse to the Child Abuse Hotline (800) 237-0004. In addition, employees receive training on identifying youth who have experienced sexual abuse or are in fear of being sexually abused. All DCS/agency employees, volunteers, and contractors are required to sign Form CS-0940, Employee Acknowledgement and Notification of Prison Rape Elimination Act.
Department of Children's Services (DCS) is committed to providing quality investigations of alleged sexual abuse in its facilities as well as private provider contract facilities. All investigators receive specialized training specific to conducting sexual abuse investigations in confinement settings. DCS policies concerning referrals of allegations for investigation can be found in policies 14.25 and 18.8.