Ending Mass IncarcerationBringing Dignity to Life Behind Bars

Sexual Assault

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)  standards apply to confinement facilities nationwide, providing one of the best mechanisms to build a culture of safety, dignity, and accountability behind bars. The challenge today involves helping thousands of prisons, jails, and juvenile lock-ups across the country comply with the standards. 

To do that, Vera partners with the National PREA Resource Center and also runs independent projects. Recent work focuses on the use of sexual assault response teams and on youth facilities, where rates of violence can be especially high. Nationwide, nearly 10 percent of young people are sexually abused within the first year of being detained, and in some juvenile facilities the prevalence rates reach 36 percent.

Related Work

Partnering with Community Sexual Assault Response Teams

A Guide for Local Community Confinement and Juvenile Detention Facilities

Community-based sexual assault response teams, or SARTs, are considered a best practice for addressing the needs of victims and holding perpetrators accountable. The federal standards for implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) require correctional facilities to develop a coordinated, victim-centered response to sexual assault so that v ...

  • Allison Hastings, Ram Subramanian, Kristin Littel
March 22, 2016

Making PREA and Victim Services Accessible for Incarcerated People with Disabilities

An Implementation Guide for Practitioners on the Adult and Juvenile Standards

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) established a federal commission to draft national standards that address sexual abuse in confinement settings. PREA also required the U.S. Attorney General to promulgate regulations based on the standards that apply to all federal, state, and local confinement settings, including juvenile detention, l ...

  • Sandra Harrell, Allison Hastings, Margaret diZerega
October 05, 2015

Keeping Vulnerable Populations Safe under PREA

Alternative Strategies to the Use of Segregation in Prisons and Jails

Incarcerated people at risk for sexual victimization need to be housed safely without losing access to programming, mental and medical health services, and group activities. The National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape emphasize that isolation be used to protect at-risk populations only when no other alternatives are availa ...

  • Allison Hastings, Angela Browne, Kaitlin Kall, Margaret diZerega
April 07, 2015