Greetings SASP Administrators!
RSP's investment in helping states understand The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and supporting advocacy for incarcerated victims spans many years including previous newsletters on this topic in 2006 and 2011. As states face deadlines to bring prisons into compliance with PREA, the sexual assault field is increasingly engaged at the national, state and local level to collaborate with corrections officials, develop advocacy strategies, and to provide services for incarcerated victims. It seemed like a fitting time to return to this important topic to share the work of your colleagues as well as updated resources.
As state professionals focusing on sexual assault response across the lifespan, SASP administrators need an understanding of PREA implementation issues and the role of SASP in that work. States' roles, capacity and approach to serving incarcerated victims varies considerably. In some states, programs use SASP more directly to serve incarcerated victims, and in others, SASP is part of the funding framework from which more work with incarcerated victims may grow. As always, RSP recommends that the direction of funding and funding priorities be informed and driven by local programs in close consultation with the state coalition taking into consideration what we know about the needs of all survivors. While some programs may have the desire and capacity to focus on a project serving incarcerated victims with SASP funding, many programs may not be ready or able to build in that component of their work with current resources.
Don't miss the resources section at the end to learn more about training, technical assistance, and publications that are available to you and SASP grantees in your state.
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) is the first federal law passed to address sexual violence in prisons and jails. PREA states that sexual assault in detention can constitute a violation of the eighth amendment of the U.S. Constitution and requires that facilities adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this form of abuse. The law calls for the development of national standards addressing prisoner rape, the gathering of nationwide statistics about the problem, the provision of grants to states to combat it, and the creation of a review panel to hold annual public hearings with the best and the worst performing corrections facilities.
On May 17, 2012, the U.S. Department of Justice released the national PREA standards. They require that corrections facilities take concrete steps to protect inmates from sexual abuse and also recognize the importance of outside agencies in achieving these goals. For more information about the standards, see Just Detention International's fact sheet.
The Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs (KASAP) signed a statewide Memorandum of Understanding (MOU), that is attached below with the Kentucky Department of Corrections on behalf of the state's 13 rape crisis centers in April 2013. Read more about their partnership in the interview with Eileen Recktenwald attached below.
Stephanie Condon, Washington's SASP Administrator, and Andrea Piper-Wentland, Executive Director of the Washington Coalition of Sexual Assault Programs, have collaborated closely with each other and with the Department of Corrections to look at the most useful ways to involve sexual assault programs in serving incarcerated victims of sexual assault and partnering as the state works to implement PREA. Read the full articlettached below and view a webinar featuring their work here.
With the new guidelines under PREA, some rape crisis centers in Massachusetts were receiving calls from county corrections to develop services, so Marci Diamond, SASP Administrator, decided to devote an hour of the most recent statewide provider meeting to a conversation related to prisons. Read more about her work in the document attached below.
Resources Related to PREA
Just Detention International:
Just Detention International (JDI) is at the forefront of efforts to ensure responses to sexual violence in prison and detention facilities and to ensure services for survivors. A grant from OVW supports some of their technical assistance work. They have a number of excellent archived webinars that focus on advocacy response and a broad array of fact sheets on topics related to PREA. Additionally, JDI has worked in some local communities to help develop Memoranda of Understanding (MOUs) between service providers and detention facilities including these examples from California and Colorado attached below.
The National PREA Resource Center:
The National Council on Crime and Delinquency (NCCD) was awarded a cooperative agreement with the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) to implement the National PREA Resource Center (PRC). The PRC's aim is to provide assistance to those responsible for state and local adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, community corrections, lockups, tribal organizations, and inmates and their families in their efforts to eliminate sexual abuse in confinement. Like JDI, PRC has an extensive library of archived webinars. While they pertain more directly to confinement facilities, they are an excellent resource.
FCASV Guidance Paper for Rape Crisis Centers:
The Florida Council Against Sexual Violence (FCASV) is offering technical assistance to certified rape crisis centers in Florida to help them develop partnerships with prisons and other detention facilities. They have developed a guidance paper on developing memoranda of understanding with correctional facilities that is attached below.
I hope you will stay in touch with me and share your successes and challenges. I'm at (515) 401-8984 or email@example.com.
Terri Poore, MSW
SASP Technical Assistance Specialist
The Resource Sharing Project and this newsletter are supported by Grant No. 2009-TA-AX-K037 awarded by the Office on Violence Against Women, U.S. Department of Justice. Points of view in this newsletter are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official position or policies of the U.S. Department of Justice.