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Press Release

Sununu Youth Services Center Achieves PREA Compliance
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Publish Date:
September 12, 2014

Concord, NH – The New Hampshire Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), Division of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) is announcing the Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) has achieved PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) compliance. PREA is a federal law established to address the elimination and prevention of sexual abuse and rape in correctional and juvenile systems. SYSC is one of the first juvenile facilities in the country to achieve PREA compliance.

“This is an incredible accomplishment for New Hampshire as the requirements to achieve this compliance were very strict,” said DHHS Commissioner Nicholas Toumpas. “This is a testament to our staff and their commitment to ensuring the best possible outcomes for the youth in our care.”

The audit looked at two years of staff efforts to comply with extremely detailed requirements. SYSC staff and staff within DCYF worked together to ensure New Hampshire complied with not only the standards of PREA but the ‘spirit’ of PREA, which is safety of youth and staff. This work included, but was not limited to the following:

  • Approximately 300 different PREA standards were embedded into existing policies.
  • Two new policies were developed specifically for PREA.
  • Since August 20, 2013, SYSC has over 170 youth intakes with orientation forms including Vulnerability Assessments and
  • Over 600 PREA forms have been uploaded into the case files of the 170 residents.
  • Review of every policy, and re-writing of 27 policies.

The findings from the audit highlight these and other achievements and recognized SYSC as having better safety and security practices than most facilities. “Other states would have difficulty meeting the standards that New Hampshire has set with forms, policies, training curriculum, and reporting processes,” said William Benjamin, auditor for the US Department of Justice. “New Hampshire has set the standard for Medical and Mental Health Care in their treatment programs, a credit to the therapeutic programs SYSC already had in place.”

“The audit results serve to confirm that the Division is committed to not only the national compliance standards, but the philosophy and spirit behind those standards which is youth and staff safety,” said DCYF Director Maggie Bishop.

To read the complete audit visit: http://www.dhhs.state.nh.us/djjs/institutional/prea.htm

 
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