Through a cooperative agreement between BJA and Impact Justice

4. Screening for Risk of Sexual Victimization and Abusiveness

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

STANDARDS. Click on the following links to access the screening standards for Adult Prisons and Jails, Community Confinement Facilities, Juvenile Facilities, and Lockups.


[2] This does not apply to community confinement facilities or lockups.

Issues

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.

Screening for Risk of Sexual Victimization and Abusiveness - Issues - Use of screening information

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.


[3] This standard does not apply to lockups.

Resources

Screening for Risk of Sexual Victimization and Abusiveness - Resources - General

General