Phase 2: Working with the community SART
During Phase 2, the coordinator should complete these two steps:
- Work with facility leaders and the community SART to establish a formal partnership.
- Establish working relationships with the SART agencies.
- Organize an interagency meeting of key corrections staff and SART agencies.
- Provide an opportunity for SART agency representatives to learn about the correctional facility, general operations, and current practices and gaps in sexual assault response. Also ask SART agencies to teach facility leaders about their work and their roles.
- Seek a formal commitment of the SART, in partnership with facility staff, to respond to sexual assault of facility residents.
- Become an active member of the SART.
- Develop memorandums of understanding (MOUs), when needed, to explain or clarify roles and responsibilities. Begin discussions on incorporating a SART approach into facility sexual assault response policy.
state formally the facility’s interest in partnering with the sart
- Invite community SART members to come together with facility leaders to discuss a partnership, so that facility residents who experience sexual assault will benefit from a coordinated victim-centered response. Include a SART coordinator, if there is one, and representatives from the rape crisis center, the hospital SANE/SAFE program, law enforcement, and prosecution. Try to schedule this discussion during a regular SART meeting. The SART might be willing to feature the correctional facility-SART partnership at one of its meetings. The facility could also host a SART meeting to discuss this issue.
- Plan the agenda. Possible topics: a brief overview of PREA and interest in a partnership with the SART (perhaps sharing key findings from Phase 1, the correctional agency’s information-gathering and planning phase); introduction to the correctional facility; introduction of SART members and functions; and incorporating a SART approach into the facility’s sexual assault response policy. If the meeting takes place at the facility, administrators could offer tours.
- Offer SART agencies background materials before meeting, to build their knowledge about the topic of sexual assault in corrections and help them think about potential issues and challenges. Encourage them to bring any written information to the meeting they think would be useful for corrections agency representatives.
establish working relationships with sart agencies
- Be active in the SART and strive to attend its regularly scheduled meetings. Select facility representatives who can share upcoming plans to incorporate a SART approach into the facility’s sexual assault response policy, provide progress reports on current activities, and discuss cases that arise.
- Facilitate cross-agency and multiagency training opportunities so that staff from the facility and community agencies develop a shared understanding of the issue of sexual assault in correctional settings, the needs of victims, security demands in correctional facilities, and how to work together to respond to such cases.
- Offer correctional facility tours to staff from community agencies. Many staff from community agencies are not familiar with how a correctional facility is structured and operates, its resident populations, and how facility operations might affect the response to sexual assault.
- Request that community agencies provide tours, when relevant, for correctional facility staff to familiarize themselves with services and procedures. For example, it would be helpful for responding staff to know specifically what occurs when a resident goes to a hospital for a sexual assault medical forensic exam. During a tour of the exam site, it would be useful for facility staff to meet a forensic nurse, a victim advocate, and a detective who can explain their roles in this process. These tours may help staff understand the logistics of the process, visualize coordination with community agencies, and identify any security concerns and possible solutions.
seek mous with sart agencies as needed
- Understand the potential utility of written memorandums of understanding (MOUs). MOUs can supplement the facility’s sexual assault response policy. The policy provides response guidelines for the facility, while an MOU can outline the roles of an outside agency in the response to sexual assaults and how the agency will coordinate with facility staff. MOUs should be developed jointly and agreed upon by all of the parties involved and signed by facility leaders and/or policymakers. Ideally, MOUs are crafted at or near the end of the policy development/revision process and then revisited and re-signed on a periodic basis, if needs or services change.
- Seek an MOU with the rape crisis center. PREA Standard 253/353(c) says that in regard to resident access to outside confidential support services, the agency shall maintain or attempt to enter into an agreement with community service providers able to provide residents with confidential emotional support services related to sexual assault. Although it could be equally useful to develop MOUs with other SART agencies, the PREA standards do not require facilities to do so.
The PREA Resource Center Library provides examples of MOUs with rape crisis centers (search for “memorandum of understanding”). Note that examples from jails and prisons will need to be adapted for community confinement or juvenile detention settings.