Prison Rape Elimination Act
PREA is a federal law that addresses the elimination and prevention of sexual violence and sexual misconduct in correctional and juvenile systems. New Hampshire is one of the first states found to be compliant with PREA standards for Juvenile Facilities.
During the week of August 4, 2014, the US Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance conducted a PREA Audit at the Sununu Youth Services Center. As a result, the Center is one of the first Juvenile facilities in the country found to be in compliance with the PREA Standards for Juvenile Facilities. The key to our compliance was the facility's "adoption of zero tolerance policy of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, as well as well-established policies and procedures for preventing, detecting and responding to such conduct." It was apparent that the staff at the Sununu Youth Services Center, with the support of the DCYF team, not only met the standards of PREA, but the spirit of it as well, which is to keep youth and staff safe.
What is PREA?
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed in 2003. It is a federal law established to address the elimination and prevention of sexual violence and sexual misconduct in correctional and juvenile systems. PREA applies to all federal, state, and local prisons, jails, police lock-ups and community settings such as residential facilities. The purpose of the act is to “provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations, and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.”
The act also created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, whose responsibility was to conduct studies of policies and practices and develop standards to enhance detection, prevention, reduction and punishment of sexual assault in prison settings. See: Juvenile Facility Standards.
Sununu Youth Services Center AND PREA
The Division for Children, Youth and Families, John H. Sununu Youth Services Center (SYSC) is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for staff and residents. SYSC has zero tolerance for any acts of sexual abuse, assault, or harassment. The following Division PREA policies demonstrate the Division's Commitment to meet the PREA standards.
- Item 2055 Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment
- Item 2088 PREA Investigations
- Item 2475 Abuse or Neglect of Detained Youth – Staff Misconduct Defined, Reporting Requirements, and Sanctions
While PREA speaks directly to residential and detention services, all employees, contractors, volunteers, juveniles and their families are expected to have a clear understanding that the Division has zero tolerance of any type of sexual relationship with youth under the Division's supervision. SYSC offers the following educational materials:
- A Guide to Preventing and Reporting Sexual Abuse, and Sexual Harassment, which is provided to the youth and their families at admission
- PREA Vulnerability Assessment which is completed for every youth within seventy-two hours of admission.
- A Guide to the Prevention and Reporting of Sexual Abuse For Interns, Contractors, Vendors, and Volunteers. PREA: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW which provides information regarding PREA to those individuals coming into the facility.
SYSC has partnered with REACH Crisis Services YWCA NH (603-668–2299) to ensure outside advocates are available as requested by youth and to provide a way to report sexual abuse or sexual harassment that is not part of DCYF or DHHS. YWCA NH provides confidential services to any reporters who seek their support.
All staff who have direct contact with youth receive annual training which exceeds the requirements to the PREA Juvenile Facilities standards on training. This training includes relevant federal law, state laws and departmental policies on preventing, detecting, and responding to sexual abuse, sexual harassment and sexual misconduct. Also covered is staff duty to duty to report rumors or allegations, to whom they should report, when they should report and their mandate to report all instances of abuse or neglect to DCYF Central Intake. Employees are also trained in detecting situations that could result in a reportable incident.
- Staff may sign up here for the PREA Training
- Employees receive PREA: What Staff Need to Know: A Guide to Preventing and Reporting Sexual Abuse, and Sexual Harassment.