Where to begin?
You have been tasked with PREA implementation for your agency or facility. But where to begin? The PREA Resource Center website has an incredible number of resources available free of charge; yet, we understand that this can be overwhelming for those who are new to PREA. Below you will find a helpful list of resources that will really get your understanding of the PREA standards and your PREA implementation efforts on the right track.
Use the links on the left to select the standards that apply to your facility type. We encourage you to read each of the sets of standards to familiarize yourself with what is required for each facility type. Don’t forget to read the definitions provided in the final PREA standards, which you’ll find in standards 115.5 and 115.6. They will help you to understand the language used in the standards, and they can also be used to determine your facility type. The standards are numbered to help differentiate the correctional settings to which they apply. Standards with a two-digit extension such as .13 are for prisons and jails. Standards with a three-digit extension beginning with .1 followed by two digits (i.e., .113) are for lockups. Standards with a three-digit extension beginning with .2 (i.e., .213) are for community confinement. Standards with a three-digit extension beginning with .3 (i.e., .313) are for juvenile facilities.
Standards Final Rule and Preamble
When the US Department of Justice promulgated the final PREA standards in May 2012, they issued a comprehensive document (the “Final Rule”) that included not only the standards themselves, but also commentary on why the standards were developed as they were. It is recommended that you read the preamble to the final rule in its entirety. While lengthy, it provides useful context that will deepen your understanding of the standards.
FAQ Page on PRC website
In addition to the interpretive guidance provided in the Final Rule, the PREA Working Group (officials from various agencies and divisions of the US Department of Justice) meets regularly to continue to offer interpretive guidance to the standards. You can search by standard number, topic, date, or keyword to identify FAQs of interest. The FAQs are an invaluable resource that will deepen your understanding of the PREA standards and how to focus implementation efforts. Check back often to keep abreast of recent updates.
Conduct a facility assessment
Chances are that even if your facility is just getting started on its PREA implementation efforts, there are already policies, protocols, and practices in place that were drafted around the specific requirements in the PREA standards. Don’t start from scratch. Evaluate what your facility is already doing and compare it to the PREA standards (toolkit for jails, toolkit for juvenile facilities). Then develop a plan and a realistic approach for how you and your colleagues will work on implementation. It is important that you approach PREA implementation thoughtfully in order to create lasting impact at your facility, or within your agency, to improve sexual safety for those under your supervision.
Review the Audit Instrument Documents
The PREA audit is likely front and center on your mind. While that is understandable, you are encouraged to not focus solely on how to pass the audit, but also on how to implement for sustainability. Keeping that balance in mind, it is important to familiarize yourself with the different facets of the audit, including all of the materials that are associated with the audit instrument for your facility type(s). One of the first things an auditor will ask you to complete is the pre-audit questionnaire. It is recommended that you review this now so you can see what you will need to provide to the auditor in advance of his/her onsite visit. The checklist of documentation will provide a guide for what materials an auditor will request throughout the audit. There are many more documents to review, including the interview protocols and the auditor compliance tool as well as the PREA Auditor Handbook—all of which will be useful in your preparations for a PREA audit.
Utilize the PREA Essentials Page
The PRC designed the PREA Essentials Page to guide professionals in their implementation of specific standards; therefore, this page is organized by standards categories, e.g., “prevention planning.” Each category contains: (1) a brief synopsis summarizing the standards in that category, (2) links to an online version of those standards, (3) links to helpful resources related to those standards sorted by correctional facility type, and (4) where relevant, a discussion of some key issues raised by those particular standards. The issues and resources included here are not exhaustive, but rather offer a snapshot of those that may be of particular interest to practitioners working to comply with the standards. For statistical data on the incidence of sexual abuse in various confinement settings, see Data and Statistics in the PRC library.
Contact the National PREA Resource Center (PRC)
The PRC is here to help! Staff from the PRC welcome any and all questions you might have related to the PREA standards, implementation challenges, and requests for resources and assistance. Submit your question today! Also be sure to sign up for the PRC’s monthly notifications to stay up-to-date on new resources and PREA-related events.
After reviewing the resources listed above, it is recommended that you consider three particular aspects of each standard as you determine what compliance means for each of the standards: (1) the standard itself; (2) the section in the final rule that contains additional information about how the US Department of Justice (DOJ) reached the decision on each standard; and (3) any FAQs that relate to the standard.