On June 20, 2012, the National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape (“PREA Standards”) were published in the Federal Register. Since that time, many correctional agencies have been reviewing the standards and planning for implementation. Those striving for full compliance with the PREA standards tend to follow three key steps: assess, plan, and implement.
- Assess: For agency leaders to know how easy or difficult implementation will be, they need to review the standards and assess whether current policy, practice, and physical plant conditions measure up to the standards’ requirements. One way to do this is to establish a PREA assessment team to complete these tasks and suggest strategies for modifying existing policies, practices, and physical plant conditions or recommend developing new policies and practices to comply with the standards.
- Plan: Once agencies have completed the assessment, the next step is to develop a strategic plan for addressing identified gaps in compliance. Agencies can refer to the requirements in the PREA standards to establish priorities and set realistic short- and long-term goals. The National PREA Resource Center offers a wealth of information, tools, webinars, and technical assistance that agency leaders can access for guidance and help, including Implementing The Prison Rape Elimination Act: A Toolkit for Juvenile Agencies and Facilities released in August 2012 by the Center for Innovative Public Policies and The Moss Group.
- Implement: The final step is implementing the plan. One way to track implementation progress is to create a file for each standard and begin to collect supporting documentation for each file as the agency moves closer to implementation. As agencies move through the implementation process, they should revisit their strategic plan often, noting accomplishments and missed deadlines and setting new goals and deadlines, as necessary. Additionally, before the first audit cycle begins, the Department of Justice and the PRC will provide further guidance on preparing for the audit, which should help agencies during the implementation phase.
Links to the case studies appear below (more forthcoming):