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Bureau of Justice Statistics - PREA Data Collection Activities, 2017

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U.S. Department of Justice
Office of Justice Programs
Bureau of Justice Statistics

DATA COLLECTION PROFILE

June 2017, NCJ 250752

Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003

PREA Data Collection Activities, 2017
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108-79)
requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to carry out, for
each calendar year, a comprehensive statistical review and
analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape. PREA
further specifies that the review and analysis shall be based on
a random sample, or other scientifically appropriate sample of
not less than 10% of all prisons, and a representative sample of
municipal prisons.

In 2016, more than 7,600 prisons, jails, community-based
facilities, and juvenile correctional facilities nationwide were
covered by PREA. The act requires the Attorney General to
submit—no later than June 30 of each year—a report that
lists institutions in the sample and ranks them according to
the incidence of prison rape. BJS has developed a multiplemeasure, multiple-mode data collection strategy to fully
implement requirements under PREA.

DATA COLLECTIONS AND DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITIES DURING 2016 AND 2017
The National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC) provides
facility-level estimates of youth reporting sexual victimization
in juvenile facilities. To collect this information, the youth use
audio computer-assisted self-interviewing (ACASI) technology
with a touchscreen-enabled laptop and an audio feed to
maximize confidentiality of responses and minimize literacy
issues. The first NSYC (NSYC-1) was conducted from June
2008 to April 2009, and the second (NSYC-2) was conducted
from February 2012 to September 2012. The third data
collection (NSYC-3) will begin in late 2017.
In previous surveys, a large number of juveniles have been
interviewed, including more than 9,000 during 2008-09 in 195
facilities and 8,700 in 2012 in 326 facilities. These surveys have
found that juveniles have high rates of sexual victimization
(9.5% in 2012) when compared to incarcerated adults in
prisons (4.0% during 2011-12) and jails (3.2% during 201112). Because of these higher rates of sexual victimization,
NSYC-3 will be the first in the series of upcoming PREA
collections to be conducted by BJS in 2017 since the release of
the PREA standards in 2012. In addition to ranking facilities as
required under the act, NSYC-3 will measure the impact of the
PREA standards and other efforts on the prevalence of sexual
victimization, type of incidents, reporting behaviors of victims,
and response by correctional staff when incidents occur.
In June 2016, BJS released Facility-level and Individual-level
Correlates of Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities, 2012
(NCJ 249877, BJS web), which used NSYC-2 data to examine
how the environment of a juvenile facility impacts youth sexual
victimization. The report also considered critical youth-level
predictors. Overall, facilities with higher rates of sexual assault
housed more youth who had submitted written complaints
against staff, did not have enough staff to monitor the facility,

and had higher levels of gang fights. However, the report
found that a juvenile’s individual characteristics—including
victimization history, sex, gender, and offense history—were
more important than facility factors in predicting sexual
victimization.
Among facility-level findings—
„„

Rates of youth-on-youth sexual assault in female-only
juvenile facilities (5.3%) were more than three times greater
than those in male-only facilities (1.5%).

„„

Youth-on-youth sexual assault was lowest (1.1%) in
facilities where almost all youth in the facility reported that
they first learned sexual assault was not allowed within the
first 24 hours of arrival.

„„

Youth-on-youth sexual assault was most prevalent (4.5%)
when facilities had a high concentration of youth with
histories of sexual abuse (24.0% or more of youth), a
concentration of lesbian, gay, or bisexual (LGB) youth
(5.0% in facilities with 18% or more of LGB youth), and a
greater-than-average proportion of youth held for violent
sexual assault (3.3%).

„„

Sexual assault by another youth (4.0%) was more common
in facilities that held greater concentrations of youth with a
history of psychiatric conditions (76% or more of youth).

„„

Staff sexual misconduct was reported by 5.9% of youth in
facilities with multiple living units, compared to 2.1% of
youth in facilities with single units.

„„

Staff sexual misconduct was most prevalent in detention
centers (7.4%) and training/long-term secure facilities
(7.3%). It was lowest in residential treatment centers
(3.1%) and nonstate-operated facilities (3.1%).

on their ability to provide the data being requested by
the survey. Additional input on measures related to the
use of restrictive housing were obtained from CJCA’s
PREA committee.

„„

In male-only juvenile facilities, 5.7% of youth reported
staff sexual misconduct, compared to 1.4% in femaleonly facilities.

„„

Facilities with a change in staffing levels during the
previous 12 months (7.1%) had higher rates of staff
sexual misconduct than facilities with no change (3.1%).

„„

Rates of staff sexual misconduct were highest in facilities
where youth perceived the facility staff to be unfair
(10.3%), youth had the fewest positive perceptions of staff
(9.7%), and youth worried about physical assault by other
youth (8.2%) or staff (11.2%).

In April 2017, BJS conducted a pilot test of the NSYC-3
collection protocols and revised survey instruments. The
test was completed in six facilities with 150 completed
youth interviews and six completed facility surveys.

„„

In May 2017, BJS conducted a cognitive test of the youth
survey’s Spanish language version. This test, which
represents the final test before national collection, was
conducted in two state-operated juvenile facilities that
held a large number of Spanish-speaking youth.

„„

National data collection is scheduled to begin in late
2017 once the survey has been approved by the Office of
Management and Budget. The first report from NSYC-3
is expected in early 2019.

„„

„„

In facilities where the majority of youth reported gang
fights, the rate of staff sexual misconduct (10.6%) was
more than double the facility average (5.2%).

In preparation for NSYC-3, BJS engaged in the following
activities during 2016-17 to assess the prior NSYC-1 and
NSYC-2 surveys and to develop new items:
„„

From January to April 2016, BJS conducted an itemby-item assessment of the NSYC-1 and NSYC-2
questionnaires to determine the basis for additional items
and revisions to past items in the sexual victimization
and facility characteristics surveys.

„„

In April 2016, BJS convened a national workshop of
juvenile correctional facilities’ administrators and other
stakeholders (as required under Section 4 of PREA) to
solicit their views on potential revisions for the next data
collection.

„„

In April 2016, BJS issued a competitive solicitation
to obtain a collection agent through a cooperative
agreement to administer the NSYC-3. It was awarded to
Westat (Rockville, MD) in August 2016.

„„

In August 2016, BJS conducted a cognitive test of new
and revised items in the NSYC-3 survey among 20 youth
in three state-operated facilities. A total of 68 questions
were tested.

„„

In August and November 2016, BJS also tested new items
on sexual orientation, sexual preference, and gender
identity. Given the higher rates of sexual victimization
reported by lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) youth in
previous NSYC surveys, these tests were designed to
further refine the questions and response items. The tests
were conducted with 20 male and female adjudicated
youth in three juvenile correctional facilities during the
cognitive test if time permitted, and with 15 youth not
held in a facility who were lesbian, gay, bisexual, and
transgender (LGBT) or had a close family member or
friend who were LGBT.

„„

In October and November 2016, BJS completed an expert
review of the facility characteristics survey with members
of the Council of Juvenile Correctional Administrators
(CJCA). Expert reviewers from seven states reviewed
the wording of the questions and provided feedback

PREA DATA COLLECTION ACTIVITIES, 2017 | JUNE 2017	

The National Inmate Survey (NIS) gathers data on the
prevalence and incidence of sexual assault in adult prisons
and local jails as reported by inmates. The 2007 NIS (NIS1) completed 63,817 interviews, the 2008-09 NIS (NIS-2)
completed 81,566 interviews, and the 2011-12 NIS (NIS-3)
completed 92,449 interviews. Inmates have been interviewed
using ACASI technology with a touchscreen-enabled laptop
and an audio feed to maximize inmate confidentiality and
minimize literacy issues.
The act requires BJS to provide a listing of prison and jail
institutions “ranked according to the incidence of prison
rape in each institution” (P.L. 108-79). Past NIS collections
show that prisoners have higher rates of sexual victimization
than jail inmates. In NIS-3, 4.0% of state and federal
prisoners reported having experienced some type of sexual
victimization perpetrated by another inmate (2.0%) or staff
(2.4%). In comparison, 3.2% of jail inmates reported some
type of sexual victimization that was perpetrated by another
inmate (1.6%) or staff (1.8%).
BJS determined that the NIS-4 will be administered
separately in prison and jail facilities. Data collection in
state and federal prisons will occur in 2018-19, followed
by data collection in local jails in 2019-20. Although
separate collections are a result of funding constraints,
they will provide BJS with the opportunity to modify the
data collection protocols and questionnaires to address
differences between prisons and jails in the types of
inmates housed and the circumstances surrounding
their victimization.
In preparation for the NIS-4 prisons survey, BJS convened
a national workshop in April 2016 to solicit views of
correctional administrators and ensure that the NIS-4 will
maximize data quality and minimize burden on sampled
facilities. Participants reviewed key findings from prior NIS
surveys, addressed alternative sampling designs for NIS-4,
suggested improvements to the sexual victimization surveys,
and commented on a draft facility characteristics survey.
2

Since the April 2016 workshop, BJS has completed an
assessment of all aspects of the NIS-3 survey and begun
work on the design of the next survey. Completed tasks
include development of—
„„

„„

„„

„„

an optimal sample design that will provide both reliable
estimates for sampled prison facilities and the ability to
measure change from past NIS collections. Sampling
objectives included estimating the sexual victimization
rates among (1) female inmates with similar or better
precision than past NIS studies; (2) inmates who have
ever been told that they have a serious psychological
disorder (SPD), with similar precision to past NIS
studies; and (3) juveniles held in adult facilities despite
their declining numbers in prison.
a revised sexual victimization questionnaire, including
items designed to capture detailed characteristics of
the most recent incident by type of victimization. New
items have been established to measure the relationships
between victims and perpetrators, prior to and after
the incidents occurred; steps inmates have taken to
reduce their chances of being victimized in the future;
and impact on the victim and perpetrator as a result of
reporting the incident.
a revised alternative questionnaire that will be
administered to a random sample of selected inmates
(10% of the NIS-4 sample) to provide greater
confidentiality and anonymity protections for survey
respondents. The questionnaire includes items on
family structure, past employment, exposure to violence
before age 18, current conditions of confinement, daily
activities, work assignments, involvement in fights,
measures of facility safety, and program participation.
a web-administered supplemental facility survey, which
has been designed to measure the extent to which
facilities are in compliance with PREA standards and
other facility characteristics that may co-vary with
sexual victimization. Items include custody levels, staff
characteristics, staff turnover, background checks, and
inmate misconduct.

In May 2017, BJS issued a competitive solicitation to
obtain a collection agent through a cooperative agreement
to administer the NIS-4 prisons collection. Before
implementing the survey in 2018-19, BJS will cognitively test
all new or revised survey items, conduct an expert review
of the facility characteristics survey, and pilot test all survey
instruments and data collection protocols.

PREA DATA COLLECTION ACTIVITIES, 2017 | JUNE 2017	

Throughout 2017, BJS will continue to conduct stakeholder
outreach activities to redesign the NIS-4 jails collection.
A national workshop for jail administrators and sheriffs
is planned for the late summer of 2017. Pending sufficient
funding in FY 2018, BJS expects to issue a competitive
solicitation to obtain a data collection agent through a
cooperative agreement to conduct a cognitive test and
pretest and administer the NIS-4 jails collection nationwide
in 2019-20.
The Survey of Sexual Victimization (SSV), formerly known
as the Survey of Sexual Violence, collects data annually from
administrative records on incidents of sexual victimization
in adult and juvenile correctional facilities. The first of
a series of data collections implemented to meet PREA
mandates, this collection began in 2004. The survey includes
measures of five different types of sexual victimization and
is administered to a sample of at least 10% of all correctional
facilities covered under PREA. It gathers information on
allegations and substantiated incidents that occur each
calendar year.
The administrative records surveys provide a basis for the
annual statistical review required under PREA. The surveys
include all federal and state prison systems and facilities
operated by the U.S. military and Immigration and Customs
Enforcement (ICE). The surveys also include representative
samples of jail jurisdictions, privately operated adult prisons
and jails, and jails in Indian country. Each year, the SSV also
includes all state-owned or -operated juvenile facilities and
a representative sample of locally and privately operated
juvenile facilities.
During 2016-17, BJS and the U.S. Census Bureau completed
data collection for the 2015 reference year. BJS received data
from the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 49 state departments of
corrections, and all state juvenile justice agencies. Among
the 700 sampled local jails, five refused to or did not respond
to the survey. Among the 291 sampled privately operated
prisons and jails, adult jails in Indian country, and facilities
operated by the U.S. military or ICE, five refused or did not
respond. Among the 549 sampled local or privately operated
juvenile facilities and juvenile facilities in Indian country, six
refused or did not respond. Overall, the 2015 SSV achieved
a 99% response rate from agencies and sampled facilities
known to be in operation at the time of the survey.
Results from the SSV for adult prisons and jails and facilities
operated by the U.S. military and ICE are expected to be
released by yearend 2017. Results for state juvenile facilities
and local or privately operated juvenile facilities are expected
to be released by yearend 2018.

3

UPCOMING REPORT IN 2017
„„

Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional
Authorities, 2012–14 (September 2017)

PREVIOUSLY RELEASED REPORTS
„„

Facility-level and Individual-level Correlates of Sexual
Victimization in Juvenile Facilities, 2012, NCJ 249877,
June 2016

„„

Sexual Victimization Reported by Juvenile Correctional
Authorities, 2007–12, NCJ 249145, January 2016

„„

Survey of Sexual Violence in Juvenile Correctional
Facilities, 2007–12 - Statistical Tables, NCJ 249143,
January 2016

„„

Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional
Authorities, 2007–2008, NCJ 231172, January 2011

„„

Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by
Inmates, 2008–09, NCJ 231169, August 2010

„„

Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by
Youth, 2008–09, NCJ 228416, January 2010

„„

Sexual Violence Reported by Juvenile Correctional
Authorities, 2005–06, NCJ 215337, July 2008

„„

Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities,
2009–11 - Statistical Tables, NCJ 244227, January 2014

„„

„„

Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional
Authorities, 2009–11, NCJ 243904, January 2014

Sexual Victimization in Local Jails Reported by Inmates,
2007, NCJ 221946, June 2008

„„

„„

Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by
Youth, 2012, NCJ 241708, June 2013

Sexual Victimization in State and Federal Prisons
Reported by Inmates, 2007, NCJ 219414, December 2007

„„

„„

Sexual Victimization in Prisons and Jails Reported by
Inmates, 2011–12, NCJ 241399, May 2013

Sexual Violence Reported by Correctional Authorities,
2006, NCJ 218914, August 2007

„„

„„

Sexual Victimization Reported by Former State Prisoners,
2008, NCJ 237363, May 2012

Sexual Violence Reported by Correctional Authorities,
2005, NCJ 214646, July 2006

„„

Sexual Violence Reported by Correctional Authorities,
2004, NCJ 210333, July 2005

PREA DATA COLLECTION ACTIVITIES, 2017 | JUNE 2017	

4

The Bureau of Justice Statistics of the U.S. Department of Justice is the principal
federal agency responsible for measuring crime, criminal victimization, criminal
offenders, victims of crime, correlates of crime, and the operation of criminal
and civil justice systems at the federal, state, tribal, and local levels. BJS collects,
analyzes, and disseminates reliable and valid statistics on crime and justice
systems in the United States, supports improvements to state and local criminal
justice information systems, and participates with national and international
organizations to develop and recommend national standards for justice statistics.
Jeri M. Mulrow is acting director.
This report was written by Allen J. Beck, Ph.D., and Jessica Stroop. Jennifer
Bronson verified the report.
Monika Potemra and Jill Thomas edited the report. Steve Grudziecki produced
the report.
June 2017, NCJ 250752

NCJ250752

Office of Justice Programs
Building Solutions • Supporting Communities • Advancing Justice
www.ojp.usdoj.gov

 

 

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