Sexual Misconduct and the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

One in ten youth in juvenile facilities in this country report being sexually victimized by staff members or other youth during their stay. Lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth are particularly vulnerable, reporting victimization by other youth at seven times the rate of straight youth. Sexual misconduct in juvenile facilities has devastating consequences for youth, many of whom enter facilities with histories of trauma and abuse.

Although sexual abuse in juvenile facilities is widespread, it is preventable. In 2003, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), the first federal civil statute focused specifically on addressing sexual violence in juvenile facilities, jails, prisons, and other facilities.

The Center’s staff have worked with many state agencies and juvenile facilities to implement the PREA standards and develop policies and practices focused on stopping the sexual victimization of youth in their care. To learn more about the Center’s training and technical assistance opportunities in this area, contact Jason Szanyi, Director of Institutional Reform, at 202-637-0377 x108 or jszanyi@cclp.org.

 

Resources

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Standing Up to Sexual Misconduct: An Advocacy Toolkit to End the Sexual Abuse of Children in Juvenile Facilities
This toolkit is designed to equip advocates with knowledge and resources to secure important reforms that will make facilities safe from sexual victimization of children. The toolkit contains background information and messaging strategies around the need for reform and the requirements of the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). It also provides concrete resources and advocacy strategies to achieve significant reforms in five critical areas of sexual misconduct prevention, detection, and response.

 

 

Fact Sheet: Understanding the 2016 BJS Report on Sexual Victimization Reported by Juvenile Facilities
In January 2016, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) published a special report entitled Sexual Victimization Reported by Juvenile Correctional Authorities, 2007-12. The report examined findings from the Survey of Sexual Violence (SSV), which captured survey results from correctional administrators in state juvenile systems, locally and privately operated juvenile correctional facilities, and juvenile correctional facilities in Indian country. The BJS report found that reported rates of sexual victimization in state juvenile facilities more than doubled from 2005 to 2012.

Fact Sheet: Understanding the BJS Report on Facility and Individual Correlates of Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities
In June 2016, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) published a report entitled Facility-level and Individual-level Correlates of Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities, 2012. The goal of the study was to identify trends to better understand the nature of sexual misconduct in juvenile facilities. Researchers examined the impact of facility characteristics and individual youth characteristics on victimization rates. Researchers then developed a statistical model to identify how those facility and individual factors interacted with each other. This fact sheet summarizes key findings from those three analyses.

Fact Sheet: Understanding the 2012 BJS Study of Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities
In June 2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) published a special report entitled Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012. The report was the second of its kind published by BJS. It captured surveys of 8,707 youth in facilities owned or operated by a state juvenile correctional authority and adjudicated youth held under state contract in locally- or privately- operated juvenile facilities. This fact sheet outlines the study’s key findings and methodology.

Understanding the Impact of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards on Facilities That House Youth
This quick reference guide provides a summary of the key requirements for youth in juvenile and adult facilities. It is intended for individuals who wish to understand the new standards but who do not have responsibility for implementing the details of the requirements.

Best Practices Above and Beyond the PREA Standards
The PREA standards represent a minimum floor for efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual misconduct. Indeed, the Justice Department did not include a number of best practices within the standards themselves, choosing instead to leave them to agencies’ discretion. This document outlines best practices that agencies can adopt in addition to the PREA standards.

Key Differences between the PREA Standards for Adult Prisons and Jails and the PREA Standards for Juvenile Facilities
On June 20, 2012, the Department of Justice officially published the final standards for four types of facilities: juvenile facilities, adult prisons and jails, lockups, and community confinement facilities. PREA standards for juvenile facilities and adult prisons and jails are mostly the same, but there are some substantive differences.  This fact sheet outlines those differences.

Comments From Youth Advocates on Minimum Staffing Ratios in Juvenile Facilities
In August 2012, the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, along with a number of other youth advocacy organizations, issued a response to the Department of Justice’s a call for public comments on proposed minimum staffing ratios for secure juvenile facilities as part of PREA. The comments support a minimum staffing ratio for secure juvenile facilities and recommend a number of modifications to the Department’s proposed standard.

Protecting Youth in the PREA National Standards
On April 4, 2011, the Center for Children’s Law and Policy, along with a number of other youth advocacy organizations, issued a response to a call for public comments on the Department of Justice’s proposed standards for the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The comments suggest a number of important improvements to protect youth and staff in secure facilities.