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Prepared Under Cooperative Agreement No. 05S18GJI0
By National Institute of Corrections & The Moss Group, Inc.

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
Considerations for Policy Review

NIC/Moss Group Cooperative Agreement #05S18GJI0

This policy review guide was developed by The Moss Group, Inc. under cooperative agreement
with the National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of Justice.

Contents
Purpose........................................................................................................................................... 3
Questions to Consider................................................................................................................... 4
Policy Organization .................................................................................................................... 4
Definitions................................................................................................................................... 4
Zero Tolerance ............................................................................................................................ 5
Staff/Offender Duty to Report .................................................................................................... 6
Prevention ................................................................................................................................... 7
Investigations - General .............................................................................................................. 9
Investigations – Selection and Training of Investigators............................................................ 9
Investigations – Protocols ......................................................................................................... 10
Investigations – Aftermath........................................................................................................ 12
List of Resources ......................................................................................................................... 14

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Purpose
As part of its mission to assist state and local correctional organizations in implementing the
requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), The Moss Group, Inc., under a
cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC) is offering to help
jurisdictions by reviewing policies developed to address sexual assault and violence. We invite
you to send your PREA policies to The Moss Group, Inc. which will use a team of consultants
with expertise in the areas addressed in PREA.
This Policy Review Guide is designed to help you create the initial draft of your PREA policies.
Before submitting your policies to The Moss Group, Inc. for review, we ask that you go through
this guide to ensure that you have considered all aspects of the PREA law.
Under cooperative agreement with the National Institute of Corrections, U.S. Department of
Justice, The Moss Group, Inc., offers technical assistance on policy review. Through The Moss
Group, Inc. Law & Policy Workgroup, agencies can request a review of the policies related to
PREA. For more information on this technical assistance please contact:
Dee Halley
NIC Program Manager
320 First Street NW, Room 5007
Washington, D.C. 20534
dhalley@bop.gov
1-800-995-6423 ex. 40374

NOTE: The questions in this document are meant to provide guidance on the need for answers
somewhere in departmental policy or operating procedures. When answering the question you
should be able to indicate in the answer where the policy or procedural language is located.

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Questions to Consider
Policy Organization
PREA covers issues related to offender-on-offender sexual assault as well as issues related to
staff sexual misconduct. Your agency needs to determine how to organize its response to PREA
in policy by answering these questions:
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Would one policy covering PREA in general
provide a more direct source of information?
OR
Should you have separate policies for staff
sexual misconduct issues and offender-onoffender assault?

Definitions
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Are the definitions in your policy consistent
with those used by the Bureau of Justice
Statistics in collecting information on incidents
of staff sexual misconduct and offender-onoffender sexual assault?
Does your policy reflect definitions of criminal
acts related to staff sexual misconduct or
assault in state law?
Does your policy include prohibitions which
may go beyond those of a criminal nature in
the definition of staff sexual misconduct, such
as conversations or correspondence of a
romantic or sexual nature?

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Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Does your policy carefully stipulate who may
be covered by the policy? For example, does
the policy define who is included when
discussing “staff,” “contractors,” “volunteers,”
“visitors,” etc? Are private correctional
facilities operating in the state covered by the
policy? Are offenders under supervision in the
community covered by the policy?

Zero Tolerance
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Does your policy contain a statement
reflecting a zero tolerance for this type of
behavior and ensuring that all allegations
regardless of source will be investigated?

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Staff/Offender Duty to Report
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Does your policy instruct various entities how
to report incidents? (Staff, offenders,
volunteers, contractors, etc.)

Does your policy provide multiple channels for
reporting incidents? For example, is there a
way to report outside one’s chain of command
or one’s facility?

Does your policy provide a way to make
reports anonymously?

Does your policy provide a central location
where reports can be documented from any
sources?
Does your policy reflect that staff have a duty
to report?

Does your policy contain sanctions for failing
to comply with this duty?
If state law addresses a duty to report, is that
referenced in the policy?

Does your policy address a medical or mental
health staff’s duty to report when they may
consider conversations confidential in nature?
Is the policy consistent with state laws
governing patient-provider relationships?

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Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Is there a fair and effective grievance policy in
place for offenders that can be used to
address staff sexual misconduct or offender
on offender sexual assault?

Prevention
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why
not):

Does your policy require orientation and training of
staff and offenders about the requirements of
statutory law and policy? Is refresher training
provided on a periodic basis?

Does your policy require orientation and training of
volunteers and contractors about the requirements
of statutory law and policy? Is this training provided
on a periodic basis?

Does your staff Code of Conduct/Ethics provide
consistent guidance on prohibited type of conduct
and reporting requirements?

Is your offender classification system designed to
minimize risk of offender sexual assault?

Does the facility provide adequate numbers of
protective custody or single cell bed space to protect
offenders reporting sexual abuse?
Is your procedure for considering offender cell
change requests designed to promote housing
changes which would help prevent or stop offender
sexual assaults?

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Question:

Answer (Explain why or why
not):

Do your institutions have in place security policies
and protocols that support the prevention and
detection of sexual abuse? If so, identify them (i.e.
cameras, recorders, authorization for issuance of
keys, sign-in requirements, etc.)

Are employees aware in policy that they may be
subject to search of their person, car, computer
email, etc. (the answer may depend on laws and
collective bargaining agreements in each
jurisdiction)?

Is there language in policy prohibiting retaliation for
the filing of a complaint?
How does the classification process consider
offenders who are known perpetrators or who are
particularly vulnerable to victimization?

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Investigations – General Considerations
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why
not):

Does your policy reflect the impact state statutes,
administrative regulations, or collective bargaining
agreements may have on the investigative
process?
Are there requirements under state statute,
administrative regulations, or collective bargaining
agreements about when the subject of an
investigation must be notified?

Is there a timeline to ensure investigations are
conducted as promptly as possible?

Are staff trained in the constitutional requirements
associated with investigative interviews (i.e.
Miranda, Garrity, Weingarten)?

Investigations – Selection and Training of Investigators
Considerations for protocol and practice:
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

What type of skills are mandatory qualifications in
selecting new investigators?

What type of training is conducted with
investigators for sexual abuse investigations?

How are investigators chosen for particular
investigations?

To whom do investigators report and how do they

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communicate these findings?

Is the gender of the victim considered when
assigning an investigator?

When investigators are internal to the agency are
they assigned to headquarters or do they work
out of a facility? If they are locally based, when
are non-resident investigators brought in?
When are outside (non-agency) investigators
used?

Is there some type of memorandum of
understanding or other agreement outlining
outside investigator’s authority, protocol, etc?

Investigations – Protocols
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Who is given authority to initiate an investigation?
Who has the authority to conduct an
investigation? Who has the authority to act on
the investigators’ findings?

How is information communicated with outside
law enforcement?

What is the role of outside law enforcement in the
process?

How is the status of an ongoing investigation
communicated with various entities such as staff,
offenders, and/or the media?

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Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Who authorizes the use of investigative tools –
covert, warrants, phone call monitoring, DNA
samples, polygraph, etc?

How are witnesses protected during the
investigation?

How are victims protected during the
investigation?

Is there a protocol for ensuring that all physical
evidence is secured?

Is there a protocol for notifying mental health staff
for assistance with questioning of victims and
perpetrators?
When are outside mental health staff used in the
investigative or treatment process?
Is there a medical protocol to provide guidance to
medical staff regarding the treatment of injuries,
preservation of forensic evidence, testing,
prevention and treatment of sexually transmitted
infections such as HIV, hepatitis B, syphilis, etc?

Is there a mental health protocol for treating
victims of sexual abuse?

When is outside medical staff used in the
investigative or treatment process?

Does the medical protocol address prevention of
pregnancy (“morning after” pill) and pregnancy
testing for female offenders?

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Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

What is the process for handling the resignation
of a staff member during an ongoing
investigation? What effect does it have on the
investigation?

Investigations – Aftermath
Question:

Answer (Explain why or
why not):

Is there a process for ensuring protection of witnesses and
victims once an investigation is concluded?

Are reporting requirements under PREA followed?

Are reporting requirements under Uniform Crime Reports
followed?
What type of information about employees is
communicated to future employees as the result of a
reference check or background investigation?

Is there a process for reporting information to the
appropriate licensing organizations (i.e., medical staff,
attorneys, etc.)?

Is there a protocol to ensure appropriate mental health and
medical follow up?

Is there a process to ensure appropriate referrals for
prosecution?

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Question:

Answer (Explain why or
why not):

How are the results of completed investigations
communicated with various entities such as staff, offenders
and/or the media?

Is there a process for ensuring lessons learned from an
investigation are incorporated into policy or training?

How are false allegations by staff or offenders dealt with?

How does the system deal with a large number of
inconclusive investigations?

First Responders
Question:

Answer (Explain why or why not):

Does your policy instruct staff who are first
responders about the steps to take to secure
the scene; notify superiors; separating the
parties; making referrals to medical and/or
mental health; notifying investigators, etc?
Do you have a checklist that first responders
can follow in fulfilling their duties?

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List of Resources for Guidance on the Prison
Rape Elimination Act
Here are just a few of the many resources available to help you develop your response to PREA:
1. National Institute of Corrections: www.nicic.org
2. National Institute of Corrections/Washington College of Law Project on Addressing
Prison Rape:
NIC/WCL Project on Addressing Prison Rape
The Washington College of Law
4801 Massachusetts Ave NW
Washington, DC 20016
Phone: 202-274-4385
Email: nic@wcl.american.edu
nicresearch@wcl.american.edu
3. National Prison Rape Elimination Commission: www.nprec.us
4. Bureau of Justice Statistics Report on Sexual Violence:
www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/abstract/svrca04.htm
5. Bureau of Justice Assistance: www.ojp.usdoj.gov/BJS
6. ACA’s “Performance-Based Standards for Adult Local Detention Facilities”:
www.aca.org
7. Stop Prisoner Rape: www.spr.org
8. “Staff Sexual Misconduct with Inmates: A Policy Development Guide for Sheriffs and
Jail Administrators”: www.ncic.org/pubs/2002/017925.pdf
9. To attend NIC’s PREA training programs of request technical assistance:
Dee Halley, NIC Program Manager
320 First Street NW, Room 5007
Washington, D.C. 20534
dhalley@bop.gov
1-800-995-6423 ex. 40374

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