Please note that Standards referenced throughout this FAQ often apply to multiple sets of PREA Standards. Along with different standard numbers, the different sets of standards use different terminology to refer to the population they house including “inmate,” “detainee,” and “resident.” When referencing a standard that applies equally to all facilities covered under PREA, the language in the question and answer will, unless specified, refer to the Adult Prisons & Jails standard numbers and use the term “inmate” to refer generally to the populations in those facilities. The FAQ search functionality uses the standard numbering from the Adult Prisons and Jails, regardless of the specific setting. When a standard is selected, the search will identify all FAQs related to that standard across all standard settings.

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Apr 23, 2014
Q:

In adult prisons and jails, can adult inmates provide inmate peer education to juvenile inmates?

A:

No.  Under the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA), juveniles may not have sight or sound contact with adult inmates in any institution.  See 42 USC 5601 et seq.  Moreover, in any facility that houses juvenile residents, adult inmate trustees may not have sight or sound contact with residents in a juvenile facility. Thus, should an agency that oversees adult and juvenile commitments for a given state decide to utilize peer educators from its adult prison system, such peer educators could not educate juvenile residents, in either a juvenile facility or an adult facility.  Even where a state agency does not have jurisdiction over adult and juvenile corrections, a program whereby adult inmates are transported to a juvenile prison to provide face-to-face peer education on any topic would violate the JJDPA.

Standard: 115.14, 115.15, 115.33
Categories: Definitions, Inmate Education, Youthful Inmates
Apr 23, 2014
Q:In adult prisons and jails, can inmates over the age of 17 provide inmate peer education to youthful inmates (age 17 and under)?
A:

Under certain defined parameters, yes.  In adult prisons and jails, youthful inmates are generally prohibited from having contact with inmates over the age of 17.  See 28 C.F.R. §115.14.  However, youthful inmates may have contact with inmates over the age of 17 outside of housing units if there is direct staff supervisionDirect staff supervision means that security staff are in the same room with, and within reasonable hearing distance of, the resident or inmate.  See 28 C.F.R. § 115.5.  Accordingly, the adult prison and jail standards do not prohibit inmate peer education by inmates over the age of 17 to younger inmates if the education occurs outside inmate housing units and there is direct staff supervision during the education process.

Standard: 115.14, 115.33, 115.5
Categories: Definitions, Inmate Education, Youthful Inmates
Feb 07, 2013
Q:Is PREA Standard 115.14 Youthful Inmates applicable to juvenile settings? Often juvenile settings can house youth committed to the department of juvenile justice until age 21. Do youth in juvenile custody need to be sight and sound separated if they are over 18?
A:

No. Individuals confined in juvenile facilities are defined as “residents” and may reside in juvenile facilities until the age allowable by state law, which in most states is 21, and in some as high as 25. The PREA standards do not provide for any sight and sound separation of residents in juvenile facilities either because of age or court of conviction. Neither the standard on youthful inmates (115.14) nor the standard for youthful detainees (115.114) is applicable in juvenile facilities. The Youthful Inmate standard requiring separation of those under age 18 from those over 18 is “setting specific,” applicable only in prisons, jails, and lockups. Even where state law provides for automatic prosecution in adult court of individuals at age 16 (e.g., NC, NY) and age 17 (e.g., GA, NH, IL, LA, MD, MA, MI, SC, TX, WI) when those persons are detained or confined in an adult prison, jail, or lockup, such individuals must be sight and sound separated from those over the age of 18. 

Standard: 115.14
Categories: Youthful Inmates
Feb 07, 2013
Q:

Do all inmates under the age of 18, regardless of court adjudication, need to be housed and managed in an area totally separate from adult inmates while residing in an adult jail or prison?

A:

PREA Standard 115.14 provides that youthful inmates, which the standards define as “any person under the age of 18 who is under adult court supervision and incarcerated or detained in a prison or jail,” must be housed separately from adult inmates in a jail or prison, but may be managed together outside of a housing unit if supervised directly by staff. Standard 115.114 provides analogous but abbreviated standard requirements for lockups.

The standard includes three requirements. First, no youthful inmate may be placed in a housing unit where he/she will have contact with any adult inmate through use of a shared day room or other common space, shower area, or sleeping quarters. Second, outside of housing units, agencies must either maintain “sight and sound separation” between youthful inmates and adult inmates—i.e., prevent adult inmates from seeing or communicating with youth—or provide direct staff supervision when youthful inmates and adult inmates are together. Third, agencies must make their best efforts to avoid placing youthful inmates in isolation to comply with this provision. Finally, absent exigent circumstances, agencies must comply with this standard in a manner that affords youthful inmates daily large-muscle exercise and any legally required special education services, and provides access to other programs and work opportunities to the extent possible.

Persons under 18 who are charged with status offenses and/or delinquent offenses are not covered by Standard 115.14, but they are covered by the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act (JJDPA) and regulations promulgated pursuant to the JJDPA. These requirements ensure that states do not securely detain status offenders in adult facilities and severely limit the time in which accused delinquent youth may spend in adult facilities; status offending and delinquent youth must always be sight and sound separated from adult inmates in prisons, jails, and lockups. More information about JJDPA requirements is available at www.ojjdp.gov/compliance.

In crafting this standard, DOJ was cognizant of agency concerns regarding cost, feasibility, and preservation of state law prerogatives related to youthful inmates. Accordingly, this standard affords facilities and agencies flexibility in devising an approach to separate youthful inmates. In particular, agencies can achieve compliance by 1) confining all youthful inmates to a separate housing unit; 2) transferring youthful inmates to a facility within the agency that enables them to be confined to a separate unit; 3) entering into a cooperative agreement with an outside jurisdiction to enable compliance; or 4) ceasing to confine youthful inmates in adult facilities as a matter of policy or law. Agencies may, of course, combine these approaches as they see fit.

Standard: 115.14
Categories: Definitions, Youthful Inmates