The standards require inmates, detainees, and residents to be screened for risk of being sexually abused or sexually abusive; that screening information must be used to inform housing, bed, work, education, and program assignments for inmates and residents. The goal is to keep those individuals at high risk of victimization away from those at high risk of committing abuse. However, facilities may not simply place victims in segregated housing against their will unless a determination has been made that no alternative means of separation is available, and even then only under specified conditions and with periodic reassessment. Standard 115.43/115.342 requires agencies to document instances when a decision is made to place someone in segregated housing.2
 This does not apply to community confinement facilities or lockups.
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.
Use of screening information
Standard 115.42/115.242/115.3423 requires agencies to use the screening information obtained during intake to inform housing, bed, work, education, and program assignments with the goal of separating inmates and residents at high risk of being sexually victimized from those at high risk of being sexually abusive. In deciding whether to assign a transgender or intersex individual to a facility for males or females, and in making other housing and programming assignments, the standard prohibits agencies from making those assignments based solely on genital status. Rather, the agency must consider on a case-by-case basis whether a placement would ensure the inmate’s/resident’s health and safety and whether the placement would present management or security problems, giving serious consideration to the inmate’s/resident’s own views regarding his or her own safety. In addition, the standard mandates that transgender and intersex inmates and residents be given the opportunity to shower separately from other inmates and residents. For more on this issue, please visit the PRC FAQ page.
For juvenile facilities, Standard 115.342 makes clear that residents may only be isolated from others as a last resort when less restrictive measures are inadequate to keep them and other residents safe. When isolation is used, the standard mandates that juveniles not be denied daily large-muscle exercise or any legally required educational programming or special education services. Facilities are also required to provide daily visits from a medical or mental health clinician and to provide access to other programs and work opportunities to the extent possible.
 This standard does not apply to lockups.
- PREA Standard in Focus - 115.41 Screening for risk of victimization and abusiveness, PREA Resource Center (2017).
- Policy Review and Development Guide: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex Persons in Custodial Settings, The Project on Addressing Prison Rape in collaboration with the National Institute of Corrections (2012).
- LGBT People and the Prison Rape Elimination Act, National Center for Transgender Equality (2012).
- Classification and Sexual Safety Workshop – Record of Meeting, The Moss Group and Center for Innovative Public Policies (2010).
- Descriptive and Predictive Characteristics of Perpetrators and Victims of Substantiated Prisoner-on-Prisoner Sexual Assault, Michigan Department of Corrections, 1998–2006, Michigan State University (2007).
- Staff Perceptions of Risk for Prison Rape Perpetration and Victimization, Valerie Gonsalves, Kate Walsh, and Mario Scalora (2012).
- Guidelines for Administering Screening Instruments and Using the Information to Inform Housing Decisions, Allison Hastings, Peggy McGarry, and Margaret diZerega, The Vera Institute of Justice (2013).
- Webinar: Implementing the Screening Standards: Emerging Lessons from the Wyoming Department of Corrections (2013).
- Developing and Implementing a PREA-Compliant Staffing Plan, The Moss Group, Inc. (2015).
- Keeping Vulnerable Populations Safe under PREA: Alternative Strategies to the Use of Segregation in Prisons and Jails, Allison Hastings, Angela Browne, Kaitlin Kall, and Margaret diZerega (2015).
- Making PREA and Victim Services Accessible for People With Disabilities Webinar, The Vera Institute of Justice (2015).
- Developing and Implementing A PREA-Compliant Staffing Plan Webinar, The Moss Group, Inc. (2015).
- Asking Adults and Juveniles About Their Sexual Orientation: Practical Considerations for the PREA Screening Standards Webinar, Angela Irvine and Jill Silva (2015).
- Understanding LGBTI Inmates and Residents Webinar, Bernadette Brown, JD (2014).
- PREA in Action—Committing to Safety and Respect for LGBTI Youth and Adults in Correctional Settings: Lessons From the Field Webinar, Lorie Brisbin, Anne Elwart, and Major Debra Schmidt (2014).
Adult Prisons and Jails
- A Quick Guide for LGBTI Policy Development for Adult Prisons and Jails, The Moss Group and National Institute of Corrections (2012).
- Inmate Sexual Misconduct/Sexual Assault Procedure 5-229, Arlington County Sheriff’s Office (2011).
- A Quick Guide for LGBTI Policy Development for Youth Confinement Facilities, The Moss Group and National Institute of Corrections (2012).
- CWLA Best Practice Guidelines: Serving LGBT Youth in Out-of-Home Care, Shannan Wilber, Caitlin Ryan, and Jody Marksamer (2006).
- Keeping LGBTQ Youth Safe in Juvenile Justice & Delinquency Placements, CWLA/Lambda Legal Joint Initiative (2013).