PREA and the Division of Juvenile Justice
The following is a brief summary of the background and implementation status of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) for Division of Juvenile Justice facilities.
Following increasing national awareness of sexual abuse in the nation’s prisons and jails, Congress passed and President George W. Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act in 2003. The legislation aimed to curb prison rape through a “zero-tolerance” policy, national standards, data collection, and external auditing. The legislation authorized the creation the National Prison Rape Commission to implement the statute and recommendations for regulatory standards. In August 2012, the Department of Justice released the final PREA standards for three categories of entities: Adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, and community detention facilities.
DJJ Policy Implementation
Since the passage of the PREA statute, the Division of Juvenile Justice has been working to comply with the developing standards and best practices.
DJJ has zero tolerance for any acts of sexual abuse, assault, misconduct, or harassment. Sexual activity between staff and juveniles, volunteers or contract personnel and juveniles, and juvenile and juvenile, regardless of consensual status, is prohibited and subject to administrative and criminal disciplinary sanctions.
The release of the full PREA Standards required an expansive revision of this policy and other associated policies and procedures. The revisions to the DJJ PREA Policy are ongoing and the steady progress is being made towards full compliance.
The Department employs a Statewide PREA Coordinator (coming soon) responsible for the development, implementation, and oversight of the agency's efforts to comply with the PREA standards. The Department has also designated PREA Facility Compliance Managers (coming soon) for its Detention and Treatment facilities.
While PREA speaks directly to DJJ’s facilities, all employees, contractors, juveniles, and volunteers are expected to have a clear understanding that the Division strictly prohibits any type of sexual relationship with an individual under Department supervision, and considers such a relationship a serious breach of the standards of employee conduct and contract compliance, and these relationships will not be tolerated.
PREA requires agencies to hire independent auditors to perform detailed audits of facilities, policies, and practices. The current expectation is the Division will need to have one-third (two or three) of our eight facilities audited every year.
Once available, the results of the DJJ PREA audit findings will be available (here).
Certification by Governor
State Governors are required to certify compliance with the PREA standards for facilities under the state’s “operational control.” For DJJ, this would be limited to our eight facilities; however the Department of Corrections and Department of Public Safety facilities are also included in the Governor’s certification. The Governor’s certification is due each year by May 15th.
Once available, Alaska's PREA Certification information will be available (here).