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Screening for Risk of Sexual Victimization and Abusiveness - Issues - Screening for risk of victimization and abusiveness

Screening for risk of victimization and abusiveness

Standard 115.41/115.241 requires agencies to screen inmates/residents during intake and upon transfer to another facility for their risk of being sexually abused by other inmates/residents or sexually abusing other inmates/residents. Because no single, validated screening instrument grounded in research currently exists for this type of risk assessment, the standard requires agencies to use an objective, fact-based instrument containing specific criteria enumerated in the standard. Additionally, recognizing the potential danger of over-classifying people as vulnerable or abusive at intake, the standard requires agencies to reassess an inmate’s/resident’s risk of victimization or abusiveness within 30 days of his or her arrival at the facility. For more on this issue, please visit the PRC FAQ page.

The juvenile standard, 115.341, sets similar requirements but specifically calls on agencies to obtain information through conversations with each resident during the intake process, medical and mental health screenings, and the classification assessment; and from review of case files and other documentation. The juvenile standard also requires facilities to obtain and review information “periodically throughout a resident’s confinement,” rather than setting a 30-day deadline for reassessment.

Because of the short-term nature of lockups, Standard 115.141 sets more limited screening requirements. For lockups that house detainees overnight, staff are required to ask detainees about their own perception of vulnerability and to screen detainees for risk of sexual victimization using a short list of criteria. For lockups that do not house detainees overnight, staff must consider whether, based on the information before them, detainees are at risk of being sexually abused and take steps to keep those detainees safe.