In 2003, Congress passed the landmark Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), recognizing that sexual abuse is a serious and persistent problem in correctional environments. The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission was formed to study the problem (see its 2009 final report), and draft standards to address sexual abuse in correctional settings. In 2012, DOJ issued its final ruling on PREA, a ruling that built on the work of the commission. DOJ’s PREA standards include regulations for adult prisons and jails, community confinement facilities, juvenile facilities, and lockups. Their aim is to facilitate comprehensive facility-based efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse. For more information on sexual assault in corrections, see Appendix 1.
In this guide and in the PREA standards, “community confinement facilities” refers to community-based, court-mandated residential programs where residents stay overnight. “Juvenile detention facilities” refers to facilities used to confine persons under the age of 18 in accordance with a jurisdiction’s criminal justice or juvenile justice system.