Does the opposite-gender “announcement” requirement in 115.15(d) conflict with the requirement in 115.13(d) that supervisory staff conduct unannounced rounds to deter staff sexual abuse and sexual harassment?
No. Section 115.13(d) determines when rounds within an institution should occur; section 115.15(d) sets forth the requirements of how rounds should be conducted in housing units.
Section 115.13(d) requires both a policy and practice of having intermediate-level or higher level supervisors conducting and documenting unannounced rounds to identify and deter staff sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Such policy and practice shall be implemented for night shifts as well as day shifts. The term “unannounced” in this standard is intended to ensure that staff are not unnecessarily alerted to the periodic arrival on a housing unit of management personnel. Accordingly, this section specifically prohibits staff from alerting other staff members that these rounds are occurring, unless such announcement is related to legitimate operational functions. Supervisory staff performing rounds at unexpected, non-routine times helps deter incidents of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.
Section 115.15 (d), on the other hand, requires a facility to implement policies and procedures that enable inmates to shower, perform bodily functions, and change clothing without nonmedical staff of the opposite gender viewing their breasts, buttocks, or genitalia, except in exigent circumstances or when such viewing is incidental to routine cell checks. Such policies and procedures shall require staff of the opposite gender to announce their presence when entering an inmate housing unit. The announcement in this standard is intended to put inmates on notice as to the presence of opposite-gender staff on the unit. This regulation is meant to balance privacy concerns of the inmate population with the security and operational needs of the facility.
Accordingly, intermediate-level or higher level supervisors performing the unannounced supervisory rounds pursuant to 115.13(d) are not exempt from the cross-gender announcement required pursuant to 115.15(d). Click here for additional information regarding the cross-gender announcement requirement.