Home
gpo.gov
govinfo.gov

e-CFR Navigation Aids

Browse

Simple Search

Advanced Search

 — Boolean

 — Proximity

 

Search History

Search Tips

Corrections

Latest Updates

User Info

FAQs

Agency List

Incorporation By Reference

eCFR logo

Related Resources

Electronic Code of Federal Regulations

We invite you to try out our new beta eCFR site at https://ecfr.federalregister.gov. We have made big changes to make the eCFR easier to use. Be sure to leave feedback using the Feedback button on the bottom right of each page!

e-CFR data is current as of December 3, 2020

Title 28Chapter IPart 115 → Subpart C


Title 28: Judicial Administration
PART 115—PRISON RAPE ELIMINATION ACT NATIONAL STANDARDS


Subpart C—Standards for Community Confinement Facilities


Contents

Prevention Planning

§115.211   Zero tolerance of sexual abuse and sexual harassment; PREA coordinator.
§115.212   Contracting with other entities for the confinement of residents.
§115.213   Supervision and monitoring.
§115.214   [Reserved]
§115.215   Limits to cross-gender viewing and searches.
§115.216   Residents with disabilities and residents who are limited English proficient.
§115.217   Hiring and promotion decisions.
§115.218   Upgrades to facilities and technologies.

Responsive Planning

§115.221   Evidence protocol and forensic medical examinations.
§115.222   Policies to ensure referrals of allegations for investigations.

Training and Education

§115.231   Employee training.
§115.232   Volunteer and contractor training.
§115.233   Resident education.
§115.234   Specialized training: Investigations.
§115.235   Specialized training: Medical and mental health care.

Screening for Risk of Sexual Victimization and Abusiveness

§115.241   Screening for risk of victimization and abusiveness.
§115.242   Use of screening information.
§115.243   [Reserved]

Reporting

§115.251   Resident reporting.
§115.252   Exhaustion of administrative remedies.
§115.253   Resident access to outside confidential support services.
§115.254   Third-party reporting.

Official Response Following a Resident Report

§115.261   Staff and agency reporting duties.
§115.262   Agency protection duties.
§115.263   Reporting to other confinement facilities.
§115.264   Staff first responder duties.
§115.265   Coordinated response.
§115.266   Preservation of ability to protect residents from contact with abusers
§115.267   Agency protection against retaliation.
§115.268   [Reserved]

Investigations

§115.271   Criminal and administrative agency investigations.
§115.272   Evidentiary standard for administrative investigations.
§115.273   Reporting to residents.

Discipline

§115.276   Disciplinary sanctions for staff.
§115.277   Corrective action for contractors and volunteers.
§115.278   Disciplinary sanctions for residents.

Medical and Mental Care

§115.281   [Reserved]
§115.282   Access to emergency medical and mental health services.
§115.283   Ongoing medical and mental health care for sexual abuse victims and abusers.

Data Collection and Review

§115.286   Sexual abuse incident reviews.
§115.287   Data collection.
§115.288   Data review for corrective action.
§115.289   Data storage, publication, and destruction.

Audits

§115.293   Audits of standards.

return arrow Back to Top

Prevention Planning

return arrow Back to Top

§115.211   Zero tolerance of sexual abuse and sexual harassment; PREA coordinator.

(a) An agency shall have a written policy mandating zero tolerance toward all forms of sexual abuse and sexual harassment and outlining the agency's approach to preventing, detecting, and responding to such conduct.

(b) An agency shall employ or designate an upper-level, agency-wide PREA coordinator, with sufficient time and authority to develop, implement, and oversee agency efforts to comply with the PREA standards in all of its community confinement facilities.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.212   Contracting with other entities for the confinement of residents.

(a) A public agency that contracts for the confinement of its residents with private agencies or other entities, including other government agencies, shall include in any new contract or contract renewal the entity's obligation to adopt and comply with the PREA standards.

(b) Any new contract or contract renewal shall provide for agency contract monitoring to ensure that the contractor is complying with the PREA standards.

(c) Only in emergency circumstances in which all reasonable attempts to find a private agency or other entity in compliance with the PREA standards have failed, may the agency enter into a contract with an entity that fails to comply with these standards. In such a case, the public agency shall document its unsuccessful attempts to find an entity in compliance with the standards.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.213   Supervision and monitoring.

(a) For each facility, the agency shall develop and document a staffing plan that provides for adequate levels of staffing, and, where applicable, video monitoring, to protect residents against sexual abuse. In calculating adequate staffing levels and determining the need for video monitoring, agencies shall take into consideration:

(1) The physical layout of each facility;

(2) The composition of the resident population;

(3) The prevalence of substantiated and unsubstantiated incidents of sexual abuse; and

(4) Any other relevant factors.

(b) In circumstances where the staffing plan is not complied with, the facility shall document and justify all deviations from the plan.

(c) Whenever necessary, but no less frequently than once each year, the facility shall assess, determine, and document whether adjustments are needed to:

(1) The staffing plan established pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section;

(2) Prevailing staffing patterns;

(3) The facility's deployment of video monitoring systems and other monitoring technologies; and

(4) The resources the facility has available to commit to ensure adequate staffing levels.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.214   [Reserved]

return arrow Back to Top

§115.215   Limits to cross-gender viewing and searches.

(a) The facility shall not conduct cross-gender strip searches or cross-gender visual body cavity searches (meaning a search of the anal or genital opening) except in exigent circumstances or when performed by medical practitioners.

(b) As of August 20, 2015, or August 21, 2017 for a facility whose rated capacity does not exceed 50 residents, the facility shall not permit cross-gender pat-down searches of female residents, absent exigent circumstances. Facilities shall not restrict female residents' access to regularly available programming or other outside opportunities in order to comply with this provision.

(c) The facility shall document all cross-gender strip searches and cross-gender visual body cavity searches, and shall document all cross-gender pat-down searches of female residents.

(d) The facility shall implement policies and procedures that enable residents to shower, perform bodily functions, and change clothing without nonmedical staff of the opposite gender viewing their breasts, buttocks, or genitalia, except in exigent circumstances or when such viewing is incidental to routine cell checks. Such policies and procedures shall require staff of the opposite gender to announce their presence when entering an area where residents are likely to be showering, performing bodily functions, or changing clothing.

(e) The facility shall not search or physically examine a transgender or intersex resident for the sole purpose of determining the resident's genital status. If the resident's genital status is unknown, it may be determined during conversations with the resident, by reviewing medical records, or, if necessary, by learning that information as part of a broader medical examination conducted in private by a medical practitioner.

(f) The agency shall train security staff in how to conduct cross-gender pat-down searches, and searches of transgender and intersex residents, in a professional and respectful manner, and in the least intrusive manner possible, consistent with security needs.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.216   Residents with disabilities and residents who are limited English proficient.

(a) The agency shall take appropriate steps to ensure that residents with disabilities (including, for example, residents who are deaf or hard of hearing, those who are blind or have low vision, or those who have intellectual, psychiatric, or speech disabilities), have an equal opportunity to participate in or benefit from all aspects of the agency's efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and sexual harassment. Such steps shall include, when necessary to ensure effective communication with residents who are deaf or hard of hearing, providing access to interpreters who can interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary. In addition, the agency shall ensure that written materials are provided in formats or through methods that ensure effective communication with residents with disabilities, including residents who have intellectual disabilities, limited reading skills, or who are blind or have low vision. An agency is not required to take actions that it can demonstrate would result in a fundamental alteration in the nature of a service, program, or activity, or in undue financial and administrative burdens, as those terms are used in regulations promulgated under title II of the Americans With Disabilities Act, 28 CFR 35.164.

(b) The agency shall take reasonable steps to ensure meaningful access to all aspects of the agency's efforts to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and sexual harassment to residents who are limited English proficient, including steps to provide interpreters who can interpret effectively, accurately, and impartially, both receptively and expressively, using any necessary specialized vocabulary.

(c) The agency shall not rely on resident interpreters, resident readers, or other types of resident assistants except in limited circumstances where an extended delay in obtaining an effective interpreter could compromise the resident's safety, the performance of first-response duties under §115.264, or the investigation of the resident's allegations.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.217   Hiring and promotion decisions.

(a) The agency shall not hire or promote anyone who may have contact with residents, and shall not enlist the services of any contractor who may have contact with residents, who—

(1) Has engaged in sexual abuse in a prison, jail, lockup, community confinement facility, juvenile facility, or other institution (as defined in 42 U.S.C. 1997);

(2) Has been convicted of engaging or attempting to engage in sexual activity in the community facilitated by force, overt or implied threats of force, or coercion, or if the victim did not consent or was unable to consent or refuse; or

(3) Has been civilly or administratively adjudicated to have engaged in the activity described in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.

(b) The agency shall consider any incidents of sexual harassment in determining whether to hire or promote anyone, or to enlist the services of any contractor, who may have contact with residents.

(c) Before hiring new employees who may have contact with residents, the agency shall:

(1) Perform a criminal background records check; and

(2) Consistent with Federal, State, and local law, make its best efforts to contact all prior institutional employers for information on substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or any resignation during a pending investigation of an allegation of sexual abuse.

(d) The agency shall also perform a criminal background records check before enlisting the services of any contractor who may have contact with residents.

(e) The agency shall either conduct criminal background records checks at least every five years of current employees and contractors who may have contact with residents or have in place a system for otherwise capturing such information for current employees.

(f) The agency shall also ask all applicants and employees who may have contact with residents directly about previous misconduct described in paragraph (a) of this section in written applications or interviews for hiring or promotions and in any interviews or written self-evaluations conducted as part of reviews of current employees. The agency shall also impose upon employees a continuing affirmative duty to disclose any such misconduct.

(g) Material omissions regarding such misconduct, or the provision of materially false information, shall be grounds for termination.

(h) Unless prohibited by law, the agency shall provide information on substantiated allegations of sexual abuse or sexual harassment involving a former employee upon receiving a request from an institutional employer for whom such employee has applied to work.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.218   Upgrades to facilities and technologies.

(a) When designing or acquiring any new facility and in planning any substantial expansion or modification of existing facilities, the agency shall consider the effect of the design, acquisition, expansion, or modification upon the agency's ability to protect residents from sexual abuse.

(b) When installing or updating a video monitoring system, electronic surveillance system, or other monitoring technology, the agency shall consider how such technology may enhance the agency's ability to protect residents from sexual abuse.

return arrow Back to Top

Responsive Planning

return arrow Back to Top

§115.221   Evidence protocol and forensic medical examinations.

(a) To the extent the agency is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse, the agency shall follow a uniform evidence protocol that maximizes the potential for obtaining usable physical evidence for administrative proceedings and criminal prosecutions.

(b) The protocol shall be developmentally appropriate for youth where applicable, and, as appropriate, shall be adapted from or otherwise based on the most recent edition of the U.S. Department of Justice's Office on Violence Against Women publication, “A National Protocol for Sexual Assault Medical Forensic Examinations, Adults/Adolescents,” or similarly comprehensive and authoritative protocols developed after 2011.

(c) The agency shall offer all victims of sexual abuse access to forensic medical examinations whether on-site or at an outside facility, without financial cost, where evidentiarily or medically appropriate. Such examinations shall be performed by Sexual Assault Forensic Examiners (SAFEs) or Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANEs) where possible. If SAFEs or SANEs cannot be made available, the examination can be performed by other qualified medical practitioners. The agency shall document its efforts to provide SAFEs or SANEs.

(d) The agency shall attempt to make available to the victim a victim advocate from a rape crisis center. If a rape crisis center is not available to provide victim advocate services, the agency shall make available to provide these services a qualified staff member from a community-based organization or a qualified agency staff member. Agencies shall document efforts to secure services from rape crisis centers. For the purpose of this standard, a rape crisis center refers to an entity that provides intervention and related assistance, such as the services specified in 42 U.S.C. 14043g(b)(2)(C), to victims of sexual assault of all ages. The agency may utilize a rape crisis center that is part of a governmental unit as long as the center is not part of the criminal justice system (such as a law enforcement agency) and offers a comparable level of confidentiality as a nongovernmental entity that provides similar victim services.

(e) As requested by the victim, the victim advocate, qualified agency staff member, or qualified community-based organization staff member shall accompany and support the victim through the forensic medical examination process and investigatory interviews and shall provide emotional support, crisis intervention, information, and referrals.

(f) To the extent the agency itself is not responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse, the agency shall request that the investigating agency follow the requirements of paragraphs (a) through (e) of this section.

(g) The requirements of paragraphs (a) through (f) of this section shall also apply to:

(1) Any State entity outside of the agency that is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse in community confinement facilities; and

(2) Any Department of Justice component that is responsible for investigating allegations of sexual abuse in community confinement facilities.

(h) For the purposes of this standard, a qualified agency staff member or a qualified community-based staff member shall be an individual who has been screened for appropriateness to serve in this role and has received education concerning sexual assault and forensic examination issues in general.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.222   Policies to ensure referrals of allegations for investigations.

(a) The agency shall ensure that an administrative or criminal investigation is completed for all allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.

(b) The agency shall have in place a policy to ensure that allegations of sexual abuse or sexual harassment are referred for investigation to an agency with the legal authority to conduct criminal investigations, unless the allegation does not involve potentially criminal behavior. The agency shall publish such policy on its Web site or, if it does not have one, make the policy available through other means. The agency shall document all such referrals.

(c) If a separate entity is responsible for conducting criminal investigations, such publication shall describe the responsibilities of both the agency and the investigating entity.

(d) Any State entity responsible for conducting administrative or criminal investigations of sexual abuse or sexual harassment in community confinement facilities shall have in place a policy governing the conduct of such investigations.

(e) Any Department of Justice component responsible for conducting administrative or criminal investigations of sexual abuse or sexual harassment in community confinement facilities shall have in place a policy governing the conduct of such investigations.

return arrow Back to Top

Training and Education

return arrow Back to Top

§115.231   Employee training.

(a) The agency shall train all employees who may have contact with residents on:

(1) Its zero-tolerance policy for sexual abuse and sexual harassment;

(2) How to fulfill their responsibilities under agency sexual abuse and sexual harassment prevention, detection, reporting, and response policies and procedures;

(3) Residents' right to be free from sexual abuse and sexual harassment;

(4) The right of residents and employees to be free from retaliation for reporting sexual abuse and sexual harassment;

(5) The dynamics of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in confinement;

(6) The common reactions of sexual abuse and sexual harassment victims;

(7) How to detect and respond to signs of threatened and actual sexual abuse;

(8) How to avoid inappropriate relationships with residents;

(9) How to communicate effectively and professionally with residents, including lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or gender nonconforming residents; and

(10) How to comply with relevant laws related to mandatory reporting of sexual abuse to outside authorities.

(b) Such training shall be tailored to the gender of the residents at the employee's facility. The employee shall receive additional training if the employee is reassigned from a facility that houses only male residents to a facility that houses only female residents, or vice versa.

(c) All current employees who have not received such training shall be trained within one year of the effective date of the PREA standards, and the agency shall provide each employee with refresher training every two years to ensure that all employees know the agency's current sexual abuse and sexual harassment policies and procedures. In years in which an employee does not receive refresher training, the agency shall provide refresher information on current sexual abuse and sexual harassment policies.

(d) The agency shall document, through employee signature or electronic verification, that employees understand the training they have received.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.232   Volunteer and contractor training.

(a) The agency shall ensure that all volunteers and contractors who have contact with residents have been trained on their responsibilities under the agency's sexual abuse and sexual harassment prevention, detection, and response policies and procedures.

(b) The level and type of training provided to volunteers and contractors shall be based on the services they provide and level of contact they have with residents, but all volunteers and contractors who have contact with residents shall be notified of the agency's zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse and sexual harassment and informed how to report such incidents.

(c) The agency shall maintain documentation confirming that volunteers and contractors understand the training they have received.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.233   Resident education.

(a) During the intake process, residents shall receive information explaining the agency's zero-tolerance policy regarding sexual abuse and sexual harassment, how to report incidents or suspicions of sexual abuse or sexual harassment, their rights to be free from sexual abuse and sexual harassment and to be free from retaliation for reporting such incidents, and regarding agency policies and procedures for responding to such incidents.

(b) The agency shall provide refresher information whenever a resident is transferred to a different facility.

(c) The agency shall provide resident education in formats accessible to all residents, including those who are limited English proficient, deaf, visually impaired, or otherwise disabled as well as residents who have limited reading skills.

(d) The agency shall maintain documentation of resident participation in these education sessions.

(e) In addition to providing such education, the agency shall ensure that key information is continuously and readily available or visible to residents through posters, resident handbooks, or other written formats.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.234   Specialized training: Investigations.

(a) In addition to the general training provided to all employees pursuant to §115.231, the agency shall ensure that, to the extent the agency itself conducts sexual abuse investigations, its investigators have received training in conducting such investigations in confinement settings.

(b) Specialized training shall include techniques for interviewing sexual abuse victims, proper use of Miranda and Garrity warnings, sexual abuse evidence collection in confinement settings, and the criteria and evidence required to substantiate a case for administrative action or prosecution referral.

(c) The agency shall maintain documentation that agency investigators have completed the required specialized training in conducting sexual abuse investigations.

(d) Any State entity or Department of Justice component that investigates sexual abuse in confinement settings shall provide such training to its agents and investigators who conduct such investigations.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.235   Specialized training: Medical and mental health care.

(a) The agency shall ensure that all full- and part-time medical and mental health care practitioners who work regularly in its facilities have been trained in:

(1) How to detect and assess signs of sexual abuse and sexual harassment;

(2) How to preserve physical evidence of sexual abuse;

(3) How to respond effectively and professionally to victims of sexual abuse and sexual harassment; and

(4) How and to whom to report allegations or suspicions of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.

(b) If medical staff employed by the agency conduct forensic examinations, such medical staff shall receive the appropriate training to conduct such examinations.

(c) The agency shall maintain documentation that medical and mental health practitioners have received the training referenced in this standard either from the agency or elsewhere.

(d) Medical and mental health care practitioners shall also receive the training mandated for employees under §115.231 or for contractors and volunteers under §115.232, depending upon the practitioner's status at the agency.

return arrow Back to Top

Screening for Risk of Sexual Victimization and Abusiveness

return arrow Back to Top

§115.241   Screening for risk of victimization and abusiveness.

(a) All residents shall be assessed during an intake screening and upon transfer to another facility for their risk of being sexually abused by other residents or sexually abusive toward other residents.

(b) Intake screening shall ordinarily take place within 72 hours of arrival at the facility.

(c) Such assessments shall be conducted using an objective screening instrument.

(d) The intake screening shall consider, at a minimum, the following criteria to assess residents for risk of sexual victimization:

(1) Whether the resident has a mental, physical, or developmental disability;

(2) The age of the resident;

(3) The physical build of the resident;

(4) Whether the resident has previously been incarcerated;

(5) Whether the resident's criminal history is exclusively nonviolent;

(6) Whether the resident has prior convictions for sex offenses against an adult or child;

(7) Whether the resident is or is perceived to be gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, intersex, or gender nonconforming;

(8) Whether the resident has previously experienced sexual victimization; and

(9) The resident's own perception of vulnerability.

(e) The intake screening shall consider prior acts of sexual abuse, prior convictions for violent offenses, and history of prior institutional violence or sexual abuse, as known to the agency, in assessing residents for risk of being sexually abusive.

(f) Within a set time period, not to exceed 30 days from the resident's arrival at the facility, the facility will reassess the resident's risk of victimization or abusiveness based upon any additional, relevant information received by the facility since the intake screening.

(g) A resident's risk level shall be reassessed when warranted due to a referral, request, incident of sexual abuse, or receipt of additional information that bears on the resident's risk of sexual victimization or abusiveness.

(h) Residents may not be disciplined for refusing to answer, or for not disclosing complete information in response to, questions asked pursuant to paragraphs (d)(1), (d)(7), (d)(8), or (d)(9) of this section.

(i) The agency shall implement appropriate controls on the dissemination within the facility of responses to questions asked pursuant to this standard in order to ensure that sensitive information is not exploited to the resident's detriment by staff or other residents.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.242   Use of screening information.

(a) The agency shall use information from the risk screening required by §115.241 to inform housing, bed, work, education, and program assignments with the goal of keeping separate those residents at high risk of being sexually victimized from those at high risk of being sexually abusive.

(b) The agency shall make individualized determinations about how to ensure the safety of each resident.

(c) In deciding whether to assign a transgender or intersex resident to a facility for male or female residents, and in making other housing and programming assignments, the agency shall consider on a case-by-case basis whether a placement would ensure the resident's health and safety, and whether the placement would present management or security problems.

(d) A transgender or intersex resident's own views with respect to his or her own safety shall be given serious consideration.

(e) Transgender and intersex residents shall be given the opportunity to shower separately from other residents.

(f) The agency shall not place lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex residents in dedicated facilities, units, or wings solely on the basis of such identification or status, unless such placement is in a dedicated facility unit, or wing established in connection with a consent decree, legal settlement, or legal judgment for the purpose of protecting such residents.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.243   [Reserved]

return arrow Back to Top

Reporting

return arrow Back to Top

§115.251   Resident reporting.

(a) The agency shall provide multiple internal ways for residents to privately report sexual abuse and sexual harassment, retaliation by other residents or staff for reporting sexual abuse and sexual harassment, and staff neglect or violation of responsibilities that may have contributed to such incidents.

(b) The agency shall also inform residents of at least one way to report abuse or harassment to a public or private entity or office that is not part of the agency and that is able to receive and immediately forward resident reports of sexual abuse and sexual harassment to agency officials, allowing the resident to remain anonymous upon request.

(c) Staff shall accept reports made verbally, in writing, anonymously, and from third parties and shall promptly document any verbal reports.

(d) The agency shall provide a method for staff to privately report sexual abuse and sexual harassment of residents.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.252   Exhaustion of administrative remedies.

(a) An agency shall be exempt from this standard if it does not have administrative procedures to address resident grievances regarding sexual abuse.

(b)(1) The agency shall not impose a time limit on when a resident may submit a grievance regarding an allegation of sexual abuse.

(2) The agency may apply otherwise-applicable time limits on any portion of a grievance that does not allege an incident of sexual abuse.

(3) The agency shall not require a resident to use any informal grievance process, or to otherwise attempt to resolve with staff, an alleged incident of sexual abuse.

(4) Nothing in this section shall restrict the agency's ability to defend against a lawsuit filed by a resident on the ground that the applicable statute of limitations has expired.

(c) The agency shall ensure that—

(1) A resident who alleges sexual abuse may submit a grievance without submitting it to a staff member who is the subject of the complaint, and

(2) Such grievance is not referred to a staff member who is the subject of the complaint.

(d)(1) The agency shall issue a final agency decision on the merits of any portion of a grievance alleging sexual abuse within 90 days of the initial filing of the grievance.

(2) Computation of the 90-day time period shall not include time consumed by residents in preparing any administrative appeal.

(3) The agency may claim an extension of time to respond, of up to 70 days, if the normal time period for response is insufficient to make an appropriate decision. The agency shall notify the resident in writing of any such extension and provide a date by which a decision will be made.

(4) At any level of the administrative process, including the final level, if the resident does not receive a response within the time allotted for reply, including any properly noticed extension, the resident may consider the absence of a response to be a denial at that level.

(e)(1) Third parties, including fellow residents, staff members, family members, attorneys, and outside advocates, shall be permitted to assist residents in filing requests for administrative remedies relating to allegations of sexual abuse, and shall also be permitted to file such requests on behalf of residents.

(2) If a third party files such a request on behalf of a resident, the facility may require as a condition of processing the request that the alleged victim agree to have the request filed on his or her behalf, and may also require the alleged victim to personally pursue any subsequent steps in the administrative remedy process.

(3) If the resident declines to have the request processed on his or her behalf, the agency shall document the resident's decision.

(f)(1) The agency shall establish procedures for the filing of an emergency grievance alleging that a resident is subject to a substantial risk of imminent sexual abuse.

(2) After receiving an emergency grievance alleging a resident is subject to a substantial risk of imminent sexual abuse, the agency shall immediately forward the grievance (or any portion thereof that alleges the substantial risk of imminent sexual abuse) to a level of review at which immediate corrective action may be taken, shall provide an initial response within 48 hours, and shall issue a final agency decision within 5 calendar days. The initial response and final agency decision shall document the agency's determination whether the resident is in substantial risk of imminent sexual abuse and the action taken in response to the emergency grievance.

(g) The agency may discipline a resident for filing a grievance related to alleged sexual abuse only where the agency demonstrates that the resident filed the grievance in bad faith.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.253   Resident access to outside confidential support services.

(a) The facility shall provide residents with access to outside victim advocates for emotional support services related to sexual abuse by giving residents mailing addresses and telephone numbers, including toll-free hotline numbers where available, of local, State, or national victim advocacy or rape crisis organizations, and by enabling reasonable communication between residents and these organizations, in as confidential a manner as possible.

(b) The facility shall inform residents, prior to giving them access, of the extent to which such communications will be monitored and the extent to which reports of abuse will be forwarded to authorities in accordance with mandatory reporting laws.

(c) The agency shall maintain or attempt to enter into memoranda of understanding or other agreements with community service providers that are able to provide residents with confidential emotional support services related to sexual abuse. The agency shall maintain copies of agreements or documentation showing attempts to enter into such agreements.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.254   Third-party reporting.

The agency shall establish a method to receive third-party reports of sexual abuse and sexual harassment and shall distribute publicly information on how to report sexual abuse and sexual harassment on behalf of a resident.

return arrow Back to Top

Official Response Following a Resident Report

return arrow Back to Top

§115.261   Staff and agency reporting duties.

(a) The agency shall require all staff to report immediately and according to agency policy any knowledge, suspicion, or information regarding an incident of sexual abuse or sexual harassment that occurred in a facility, whether or not it is part of the agency; retaliation against residents or staff who reported such an incident; and any staff neglect or violation of responsibilities that may have contributed to an incident or retaliation.

(b) Apart from reporting to designated supervisors or officials, staff shall not reveal any information related to a sexual abuse report to anyone other than to the extent necessary, as specified in agency policy, to make treatment, investigation, and other security and management decisions.

(c) Unless otherwise precluded by Federal, State, or local law, medical and mental health practitioners shall be required to report sexual abuse pursuant to paragraph (a) of this section and to inform residents of the practitioner's duty to report, and the limitations of confidentiality, at the initiation of services.

(d) If the alleged victim is under the age of 18 or considered a vulnerable adult under a State or local vulnerable persons statute, the agency shall report the allegation to the designated State or local services agency under applicable mandatory reporting laws.

(e) The facility shall report all allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, including third-party and anonymous reports, to the facility's designated investigators.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.262   Agency protection duties.

When an agency learns that a resident is subject to a substantial risk of imminent sexual abuse, it shall take immediate action to protect the resident.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.263   Reporting to other confinement facilities.

(a) Upon receiving an allegation that a resident was sexually abused while confined at another facility, the head of the facility that received the allegation shall notify the head of the facility or appropriate office of the agency where the alleged abuse occurred.

(b) Such notification shall be provided as soon as possible, but no later than 72 hours after receiving the allegation.

(c) The agency shall document that it has provided such notification.

(d) The facility head or agency office that receives such notification shall ensure that the allegation is investigated in accordance with these standards.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.264   Staff first responder duties.

(a) Upon learning of an allegation that a resident was sexually abused, the first security staff member to respond to the report shall be required to:

(1) Separate the alleged victim and abuser;

(2) Preserve and protect any crime scene until appropriate steps can be taken to collect any evidence;

(3) If the abuse occurred within a time period that still allows for the collection of physical evidence, request that the alleged victim not take any actions that could destroy physical evidence, including, as appropriate, washing, brushing teeth, changing clothes, urinating, defecating, smoking, drinking, or eating; and

(4) If the abuse occurred within a time period that still allows for the collection of physical evidence, ensure that the alleged abuser does not take any actions that could destroy physical evidence, including, as appropriate, washing, brushing teeth, changing clothes, urinating, defecating, smoking, drinking, or eating.

(b) If the first staff responder is not a security staff member, the responder shall be required to request that the alleged victim not take any actions that could destroy physical evidence and then notify security staff.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.265   Coordinated response.

The facility shall develop a written institutional plan to coordinate actions taken in response to an incident of sexual abuse, among staff first responders, medical and mental health practitioners, investigators, and facility leadership.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.266   Preservation of ability to protect residents from contact with abusers

(a) Neither the agency nor any other governmental entity responsible for collective bargaining on the agency's behalf shall enter into or renew any collective bargaining agreement or other agreement that limits the agency's ability to remove alleged staff sexual abusers from contact with residents pending the outcome of an investigation or of a determination of whether and to what extent discipline is warranted.

(b) Nothing in this standard shall restrict the entering into or renewal of agreements that govern:

(1) The conduct of the disciplinary process, as long as such agreements are not inconsistent with the provisions of §§115.272 and 115.276; or

(2) Whether a no-contact assignment that is imposed pending the outcome of an investigation shall be expunged from or retained in the staff member's personnel file following a determination that the allegation of sexual abuse is not substantiated.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.267   Agency protection against retaliation.

(a) The agency shall establish a policy to protect all residents and staff who report sexual abuse or sexual harassment or cooperate with sexual abuse or sexual harassment investigations from retaliation by other residents or staff and shall designate which staff members or departments are charged with monitoring retaliation.

(b) The agency shall employ multiple protection measures, such as housing changes or transfers for resident victims or abusers, removal of alleged staff or resident abusers from contact with victims, and emotional support services for residents or staff who fear retaliation for reporting sexual abuse or sexual harassment or for cooperating with investigations.

(c) For at least 90 days following a report of sexual abuse, the agency shall monitor the conduct and treatment of residents or staff who reported the sexual abuse and of residents who were reported to have suffered sexual abuse to see if there are changes that may suggest possible retaliation by residents or staff, and shall act promptly to remedy any such retaliation. Items the agency should monitor include any resident disciplinary reports, housing, or program changes, or negative performance reviews or reassignments of staff. The agency shall continue such monitoring beyond 90 days if the initial monitoring indicates a continuing need.

(d) In the case of residents, such monitoring shall also include periodic status checks.

(e) If any other individual who cooperates with an investigation expresses a fear of retaliation, the agency shall take appropriate measures to protect that individual against retaliation.

(f) An agency's obligation to monitor shall terminate if the agency determines that the allegation is unfounded.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.268   [Reserved]

return arrow Back to Top

Investigations

return arrow Back to Top

§115.271   Criminal and administrative agency investigations.

(a) When the agency conducts its own investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, it shall do so promptly, thoroughly, and objectively for all allegations, including third-party and anonymous reports.

(b) Where sexual abuse is alleged, the agency shall use investigators who have received special training in sexual abuse investigations pursuant to §115.234.

(c) Investigators shall gather and preserve direct and circumstantial evidence, including any available physical and DNA evidence and any available electronic monitoring data; shall interview alleged victims, suspected perpetrators, and witnesses; and shall review prior complaints and reports of sexual abuse involving the suspected perpetrator.

(d) When the quality of evidence appears to support criminal prosecution, the agency shall conduct compelled interviews only after consulting with prosecutors as to whether compelled interviews may be an obstacle for subsequent criminal prosecution.

(e) The credibility of an alleged victim, suspect, or witness shall be assessed on an individual basis and shall not be determined by the person's status as resident or staff. No agency shall require a resident who alleges sexual abuse to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth-telling device as a condition for proceeding with the investigation of such an allegation.

(f) Administrative investigations:

(1) Shall include an effort to determine whether staff actions or failures to act contributed to the abuse; and

(2) Shall be documented in written reports that include a description of the physical and testimonial evidence, the reasoning behind credibility assessments, and investigative facts and findings.

(g) Criminal investigations shall be documented in a written report that contains a thorough description of physical, testimonial, and documentary evidence and attaches copies of all documentary evidence where feasible.

(h) Substantiated allegations of conduct that appears to be criminal shall be referred for prosecution.

(i) The agency shall retain all written reports referenced in paragraphs (f) and (g) of this section for as long as the alleged abuser is incarcerated or employed by the agency, plus five years.

(j) The departure of the alleged abuser or victim from the employment or control of the facility or agency shall not provide a basis for terminating an investigation.

(k) Any State entity or Department of Justice component that conducts such investigations shall do so pursuant to the above requirements.

(l) When outside agencies investigate sexual abuse, the facility shall cooperate with outside investigators and shall endeavor to remain informed about the progress of the investigation.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.272   Evidentiary standard for administrative investigations.

The agency shall impose no standard higher than a preponderance of the evidence in determining whether allegations of sexual abuse or sexual harassment are substantiated.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.273   Reporting to residents.

(a) Following an investigation into a resident's allegation of sexual abuse suffered in an agency facility, the agency shall inform the resident as to whether the allegation has been determined to be substantiated, unsubstantiated, or unfounded.

(b) If the agency did not conduct the investigation, it shall request the relevant information from the investigative agency in order to inform the resident.

(c) Following a resident's allegation that a staff member has committed sexual abuse against the resident, the agency shall subsequently inform the resident (unless the agency has determined that the allegation is unfounded) whenever:

(1) The staff member is no longer posted within the resident's unit;

(2) The staff member is no longer employed at the facility;

(3) The agency learns that the staff member has been indicted on a charge related to sexual abuse within the facility; or

(4) The agency learns that the staff member has been convicted on a charge related to sexual abuse within the facility.

(d) Following a resident's allegation that he or she has been sexually abused by another resident, the agency shall subsequently inform the alleged victim whenever:

(1) The agency learns that the alleged abuser has been indicted on a charge related to sexual abuse within the facility; or

(2) The agency learns that the alleged abuser has been convicted on a charge related to sexual abuse within the facility.

(e) All such notifications or attempted notifications shall be documented.

(f) An agency's obligation to report under this standard shall terminate if the resident is released from the agency's custody.

return arrow Back to Top

Discipline

return arrow Back to Top

§115.276   Disciplinary sanctions for staff.

(a) Staff shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions up to and including termination for violating agency sexual abuse or sexual harassment policies.

(b) Termination shall be the presumptive disciplinary sanction for staff who have engaged in sexual abuse.

(c) Disciplinary sanctions for violations of agency policies relating to sexual abuse or sexual harassment (other than actually engaging in sexual abuse) shall be commensurate with the nature and circumstances of the acts committed, the staff member's disciplinary history, and the sanctions imposed for comparable offenses by other staff with similar histories.

(d) All terminations for violations of agency sexual abuse or sexual harassment policies, or resignations by staff who would have been terminated if not for their resignation, shall be reported to law enforcement agencies, unless the activity was clearly not criminal, and to any relevant licensing bodies.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.277   Corrective action for contractors and volunteers.

(a) Any contractor or volunteer who engages in sexual abuse shall be prohibited from contact with residents and shall be reported to law enforcement agencies, unless the activity was clearly not criminal, and to relevant licensing bodies.

(b) The facility shall take appropriate remedial measures, and shall consider whether to prohibit further contact with residents, in the case of any other violation of agency sexual abuse or sexual harassment policies by a contractor or volunteer.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.278   Disciplinary sanctions for residents.

(a) Residents shall be subject to disciplinary sanctions pursuant to a formal disciplinary process following an administrative finding that the resident engaged in resident-on-resident sexual abuse or following a criminal finding of guilt for resident-on-resident sexual abuse.

(b) Sanctions shall be commensurate with the nature and circumstances of the abuse committed, the resident's disciplinary history, and the sanctions imposed for comparable offenses by other residents with similar histories.

(c) The disciplinary process shall consider whether a resident's mental disabilities or mental illness contributed to his or her behavior when determining what type of sanction, if any, should be imposed.

(d) If the facility offers therapy, counseling, or other interventions designed to address and correct underlying reasons or motivations for the abuse, the facility shall consider whether to require the offending resident to participate in such interventions as a condition of access to programming or other benefits.

(e) The agency may discipline a resident for sexual contact with staff only upon a finding that the staff member did not consent to such contact.

(f) For the purpose of disciplinary action, a report of sexual abuse made in good faith based upon a reasonable belief that the alleged conduct occurred shall not constitute falsely reporting an incident or lying, even if an investigation does not establish evidence sufficient to substantiate the allegation.

(g) An agency may, in its discretion, prohibit all sexual activity between residents and may discipline residents for such activity. An agency may not, however, deem such activity to constitute sexual abuse if it determines that the activity is not coerced.

return arrow Back to Top

Medical and Mental Care

return arrow Back to Top

§115.281   [Reserved]

return arrow Back to Top

§115.282   Access to emergency medical and mental health services.

(a) Resident victims of sexual abuse shall receive timely, unimpeded access to emergency medical treatment and crisis intervention services, the nature and scope of which are determined by medical and mental health practitioners according to their professional judgment.

(b) If no qualified medical or mental health practitioners are on duty at the time a report of recent abuse is made, security staff first responders shall take preliminary steps to protect the victim pursuant to §115.262 and shall immediately notify the appropriate medical and mental health practitioners.

(c) Resident victims of sexual abuse while incarcerated shall be offered timely information about and timely access to emergency contraception and sexually transmitted infections prophylaxis, in accordance with professionally accepted standards of care, where medically appropriate.

(d) Treatment services shall be provided to the victim without financial cost and regardless of whether the victim names the abuser or cooperates with any investigation arising out of the incident.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.283   Ongoing medical and mental health care for sexual abuse victims and abusers.

(a) The facility shall offer medical and mental health evaluation and, as appropriate, treatment to all residents who have been victimized by sexual abuse in any prison, jail, lockup, or juvenile facility.

(b) The evaluation and treatment of such victims shall include, as appropriate, follow-up services, treatment plans, and, when necessary, referrals for continued care following their transfer to, or placement in, other facilities, or their release from custody.

(c) The facility shall provide such victims with medical and mental health services consistent with the community level of care.

(d) Resident victims of sexually abusive vaginal penetration while incarcerated shall be offered pregnancy tests.

(e) If pregnancy results from conduct specified in paragraph (d) of this section, such victims shall receive timely and comprehensive information about and timely access to all lawful pregnancy-related medical services.

(f) Resident victims of sexual abuse while incarcerated shall be offered tests for sexually transmitted infections as medically appropriate.

(g) Treatment services shall be provided to the victim without financial cost and regardless of whether the victim names the abuser or cooperates with any investigation arising out of the incident.

(h) The facility shall attempt to conduct a mental health evaluation of all known resident-on-resident abusers within 60 days of learning of such abuse history and offer treatment when deemed appropriate by mental health practitioners.

return arrow Back to Top

Data Collection and Review

return arrow Back to Top

§115.286   Sexual abuse incident reviews.

(a) The facility shall conduct a sexual abuse incident review at the conclusion of every sexual abuse investigation, including where the allegation has not been substantiated, unless the allegation has been determined to be unfounded.

(b) Such review shall ordinarily occur within 30 days of the conclusion of the investigation.

(c) The review team shall include upper-level management officials, with input from line supervisors, investigators, and medical or mental health practitioners.

(d) The review team shall:

(1) Consider whether the allegation or investigation indicates a need to change policy or practice to better prevent, detect, or respond to sexual abuse;

(2) Consider whether the incident or allegation was motivated by race; ethnicity; gender identity; lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, or intersex identification, status, or perceived status; or gang affiliation; or was motivated or otherwise caused by other group dynamics at the facility;

(3) Examine the area in the facility where the incident allegedly occurred to assess whether physical barriers in the area may enable abuse;

(4) Assess the adequacy of staffing levels in that area during different shifts;

(5) Assess whether monitoring technology should be deployed or augmented to supplement supervision by staff; and

(6) Prepare a report of its findings, including but not necessarily limited to determinations made pursuant to paragraphs (d)(1) through (d)(5) of this section, and any recommendations for improvement, and submit such report to the facility head and PREA compliance manager.

(e) The facility shall implement the recommendations for improvement, or shall document its reasons for not doing so.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.287   Data collection.

(a) The agency shall collect accurate, uniform data for every allegation of sexual abuse at facilities under its direct control using a standardized instrument and set of definitions.

(b) The agency shall aggregate the incident-based sexual abuse data at least annually.

(c) The incident-based data collected shall include, at a minimum, the data necessary to answer all questions from the most recent version of the Survey of Sexual Violence conducted by the Department of Justice.

(d) The agency shall maintain, review, and collect data as needed from all available incident-based documents including reports, investigation files, and sexual abuse incident reviews.

(e) The agency also shall obtain incident-based and aggregated data from every private facility with which it contracts for the confinement of its residents.

(f) Upon request, the agency shall provide all such data from the previous calendar year to the Department of Justice no later than June 30.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.288   Data review for corrective action.

(a) The agency shall review data collected and aggregated pursuant to §115.287 in order to assess and improve the effectiveness of its sexual abuse prevention, detection, and response policies, practices, and training, including:

(1) Identifying problem areas;

(2) Taking corrective action on an ongoing basis; and

(3) Preparing an annual report of its findings and corrective actions for each facility, as well as the agency as a whole.

(b) Such report shall include a comparison of the current year's data and corrective actions with those from prior years and shall provide an assessment of the agency's progress in addressing sexual abuse.

(c) The agency's report shall be approved by the agency head and made readily available to the public through its Web site or, if it does not have one, through other means.

(d) The agency may redact specific material from the reports when publication would present a clear and specific threat to the safety and security of a facility, but must indicate the nature of the material redacted.

return arrow Back to Top

§115.289   Data storage, publication, and destruction.

(a) The agency shall ensure that data collected pursuant to §115.287 are securely retained.

(b) The agency shall make all aggregated sexual abuse data, from facilities under its direct control and private facilities with which it contracts, readily available to the public at least annually through its Web site or, if it does not have one, through other means.

(c) Before making aggregated sexual abuse data publicly available, the agency shall remove all personal identifiers.

(d) The agency shall maintain sexual abuse data collected pursuant to §115.287 for at least 10 years after the date of the initial collection unless Federal, State, or local law requires otherwise.

return arrow Back to Top

Audits

return arrow Back to Top

§115.293   Audits of standards.

The agency shall conduct audits pursuant to §§115.401 through 115.405.

return arrow Back to Top

Need assistance?