Prison Rape Elimination Act Term Paper

Pages: 20 (6122 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 76  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Criminal Justice

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Provide appropriate orientation to anyone having contact with offenders;

9.

Provide intensive training, resources and support for personnel assigned to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct;

10.

Provide detainee/offender orientation and ongoing education on staff sexual misconduct that includes information on the zero-tolerance policy, how to report allegations, how to obtain medical and mental health services, how to seek relief against retaliation for reporting allegations, and possible disciplinary actions for making false allegations;

11.

Establish partnerships with prosecutors, medical providers, mental health providers and others who can provide advice, support and direct services to detainees/offenders who are victims of staff sexual misconduct; and,

12.

Establish a systematic process for the collection of data that document the number of sexual misconduct allegations, the nature of each allegation and the resolution of the allegation (ACA Policies and Resolutions for Member Input, 2004, p. 70).

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Certainly, for citizens comfortably and safety situated in their own homes, the horrors that confronts some prisoners in corrections facilities is just the beginning. According to Halley, "The mental health and public health consequences, both within institutions and the community, are complex and devastating, requiring comprehensive intervention and treatment. These crimes have been largely ignored by correctional managers, compromising the safety and security of correctional institutions. The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 could play a vital role in managing a national scandal" (p. 30).

TOPIC: Term Paper on Prison Rape Elimination Act of Assignment

The PREA legislation was sponsored by Republican Frank Wolf in the House and Ted Kennedy in the Senate and provides $40 million worth of grants to help reduce rape in the nation's prisons and jails; the PREA will also allow negligent prison administrators to be summoned to Washington to answer questions concerning their failures (The Week, 2003). According to the editors of the National Review:

Running state prisons in a responsible and decent manner is a duty of the states, not of Washington. But we're glad that one of America's most serious human-rights crises is finally getting official attention. By conservative estimates, the number of rapes behind bars exceeds the total number reported in New York, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, Phoenix, and Boston combined. Other estimates put the numbers much higher: It's even possible that more men get raped than women each year. The new law will not, of course, live up to its title. Violent, racist prison gangs (black, white, and Latino alike) all use rape to keep non-members in line, and many prison administrators turn a blind eye because the threat of rape often makes inmate populations easier to control. But thanks to the law, not everyone will turn a blind eye to this shameful aspect of American life (emphasis added). (p. 37).

According to Black's Law Dictionary (1990), a prison is "a public building or other place for the confinement of persons, whether as a punishment imposed by the law or otherwise in the course of the administration of justice" (p. 1194); by contrast, PREA more broadly defines a prison as being "any confinement facility of federal, state or local government, whether administered by such government or by a private organization on behalf of such government, and includes any local jail or police lockup and any juvenile facility used for the custody or care of juvenile inmates" (Halley, p. 30).

Again, a comparison of definitions is useful for this analysis; Black's defines "rape" as simply being "unlawful sexual intercourse with a female without her consent"; Section 10 of PREA, though, provides a much broader definition: "The carnal knowledge, oral sodomy, sexual assault with an object or sexual fondling of a person, forcibly or against that person's will; or not forcibly or against the person's will, where the victim is incapable of giving consent because of his or her youth or his or her temporary or permanent mental or physical incapacity; or ... The carnal knowledge, oral sodomy, sexual assault with an object, or sexual fondling of a person achieved through the exploitation of the fear or threat of physical violence or bodily injury" (Halley, p. 31).

The Bureau of Justice Statistics will use uniform definitions of categories of sexual violence that reflect the definitions formulated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Injury Prevention and Control in Sexual Violence Surveillance: Uniform Definitions and Recommended Data Elements; the two categories are:

1.

Completed (or attempted) nonconsensual sexual acts, including:

a.

Contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus involving penetration, however slight;

b.

Contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva or anus; and,

c.

Penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger or other object.

2.

Abusive sexual contacts, including intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh or buttocks of any person (Beck et al., 2004, p. 27).

All sexual acts involving staff are regarded as misconduct and are covered under the PREA; in this regard, the BJS will collect data separately on incidents involving staff sexual contacts with youths and less serious incidents of sexual harassment, such as repeated verbal statements or derogatory comments of a sexual nature to an inmate by an employee, and other forms of noncontact sexual abuse. "Clearly," Halley says, "the scope of this law is much broader than its name would indicate. It is not simply about prison nor is it merely about rape" (emphasis added) (p. 31).

Goals of the PREA and Responsible Agencies.

The goals of PREA include the following:

1.

Establish a zero-tolerance standard for the incidence of prison rape in correctional facilities;

2.

Make prevention of prison rape a top priority in correctional systems;

3.

Develop and implement national standards for the detection, prevention, reduction and punishment of prison rape;

4.

Increase the availability of data on the incidence and prevalence of prison rape; and,

5.

Increase the accountability of corrections officials who fail to prevent and reduce rape (Halley, p. 31).

To accomplish these goals, PREA specifies certain tasks that must be accomplished; to this end, PREA assigned several agencies within the Department of Justice specific tasks related to the purposes of the law.

Bureau of Justice Statistics. According to the BJS Web site, "The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-79, signed on September 4, 2003), requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to measure the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault within the Nation's correctional facilities" (Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2005, p. 1). The BJS is tasked with collecting, reviewing and providing analyses of the incidence and effects of prison rape; such analyses is supposed to include "the common characteristics of both victims and perpetrators, and prisons and prison systems with high incidence rates" (Halley, p. 31). In their essay, "Implementing the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act in Juvenile Residential Facilities," Beck, Harrison and Hughes add that the PREA also covers all public and private residential facilities that house detained and adjudicated youths and directs the BJS to:

1.

Carry out, for each calendar year, a comprehensive statistical report and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape;

2.

Sample not less than 10% of all federal, state and county prisons, a representative sample of municipal prisons, including juvenile facilities, used for the custody or care of juvenile inmates;

3.

Use surveys and other statistical studies of current and former inmates;

4.

Produce the aforementioned report not later than June 30 of each year with respect to prison rape, for the preceding calendar year, including a listing of those institutions ranked according to the incidence of prison rape in each institution; and,

5.

Provide a list of prisons that did not cooperate with the survey (Beck et al. 26).

A sample portion of the survey used by the BJS for this purpose for state-level prisons is provided at Appendix B (the entire survey totals eight pages); comparable survey forms have been developed for federal and county prisons as well, and are posted on the BJS Web site at http://www.ojp.gov/bjs/abstract/dcprea03.htm (Data Collections for the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, 2005).

In response to the PREA and its new mandates, the BJS also conducted a series of workshops to develop appropriate data collection strategies, one for adult inmates and one for juveniles in residential placement (Beck et al., p. 26). According Beck and his colleagues, "The workshops brought together a diverse group, including state and federal officials, facility administrators, representatives of national correctional organizations, child-welfare and prisoner-rights advocates, sexual victimization experts and methodologists" (p. 27). The workshops also helped the BJS develop relevant guidance for implementation strategies and appropriate data collection methodologies (Beck et al., 2004).

Measurement Methods Used by the PREA. In the past, there has been a paucity of reliable collection methodologies for measuring sexual assault in juvenile facilities; in response to the mandates of the PREA, the BJS is developing and testing the use of audio computer-assisted self-interviews (known as "audio-CASI" -- see partial copy and sample female questions at Appendix A). According… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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