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Department of Services for Children, Youth and their Families

Division of Youth Rehabilitative Services

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

To report any sexual abuse or sexual harassment allegations regarding DYRS youth, call Delaware Child Abuse Hotline: 1-800-292-9582 or your local law enforcement agency.

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What is the Prison Rape Elimination Act?

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed in 2003 with unanimous support from both parties in Congress. The purpose of the act was 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.”(Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2003).In addition to creating a mandate for significant research from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and through the National Institute of Justice, funding through the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Corrections supported major efforts in many state correctional, juvenile detention, community corrections, and jail systems.

The Act also created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission and charged it with developing draft standards for the elimination of prison rape. Those standards were published in June 2009, and were turned over to the Department of Justice for review and passage as a final rule. That final rule became effective August 20, 2012.

Federal Law

PREA was signed into law on September 4, 2003 and is the first United States Federal Law that deals with sexual abuse of incarcerated persons.  The standards that ensures PREA compliance were published in the Federal Register on June 20, 2012, and became effective on August 20, 2012.

PREA covers all adult as well as juvenile facilities.  PREA defines “prison” as any federal, state, or local confinement facility, including local jails, police lockups, juvenile facilities used for the custody or care of juvenile inmates, and state and federal prisons.  Short-term lockups, such as holding facilities and local jails, regardless of size, are also subject to the provisions of PREA.

Additional information on PREA can be found at the PREA Resource Center.

DYRS Policy

DYRS has a zero tolerance for any incidence of sexual activity with youth in our care.  DYRS commits to full compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).  Any type of forced or unwanted sexual activity, touching or sexual harassment between youth, or any type of sexual activity or sexual harassment between staff and youth (including consensual) is criminal and prohibited.  All institutional abuse allegations that involve children in our facilities are screened and independently investigated by the DSCYF Institutional Abuse unit.  If the incident rises to a criminal level, it is referred to the Delaware State Police.

The Division policy that references PREA can be found at Policy 2.13.