Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

Zero-Tolerance Policy

In 2003, Congress enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) mandating that correctional facilities nationwide implement measures to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and sexual misconduct of persons in custody of a United States Correctional System. The Act created national standards applicable to all correctional facilities, public and private, in the United States. In 2012, specific standards required by this legislation were disseminated nationally by the Department of Justice, and a timetable for compliance and subsequent federal compliance audits was set. PREA addresses sexual assault by both offender on offender and staff on offender.

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority upholds the guidelines of PREA by the development of a Jail environment that mandates ZERO-TOLERANCE for any and all incidents of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and sexual harassment whether consensual or non-consensual.

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority implements its ZERO-TOLERANCE policies through a systematic process that begins when the offenders are initially admitted into the Jail. Piedmont Regional Jail Authority requires each offender to observe a video titled “What You Need to Know” and make available to all offenders through the Kiosk a copy of the offender handbook, which further explains their rights to remain free from sexual abuse and sexual harassment and how it is managed within the jail. As a part of the intake process, each offender is screened to assess their risk of victimization or predation using an objective measurement tool based on specific risk factors. This tool is utilized to make individualized determinations as to their housing assignment and program participation. During the classification process, they are informed of the Medical and Mental Health services available with the Jail. If PREA issues are discovered during the interview, the Qualified Mental Health Person is contacted and immediate services or a follow-up appointment will be available.

Throughout the Jail, there are posters explaining ZERO-TOLERANCE and the methods to report sexual misconduct in English and Spanish.

All newly hired Jail staff and contractors working within the Jail are required to complete orientation training prior to working in the Jail, which includes PREA training and the viewing of several videos relative to PREA. All correctional staff receive additional PREA training when in attendance at the Basic Jailor’s program conducted by the Central Virginia Training Academy.  Refresher training is provided to all staff on an annual basis.

To prevent various forms of sexual misconduct, Piedmont Regional Jail Authority has numerous video cameras strategically placed throughout the Jail to eliminate blind spots to adequately protect staff and offenders from sexual abuse and to ensure the continued safety of staff and offenders. A review of the Jail was conducted by the staff and the PREA Coordinator to determine the need for additional video cameras and the review revealed that additional video cameras were needed to ensure the safety of the staff and offenders. The Jail has installed additional video cameras and is working with a contractor to add more. Additional facility renovations have been contracted to ensure that the offenders’ PREA rights are not being violated.

When it comes to sexual activity within the Jail, the policies and procedures are clear: ALL SEXUAL ACTIVITY IS PROHIBITED. Forced or coerced sexual activity and behavior by staff or offenders is a criminal act that merits criminal prosecution. All substantiated sexual criminal acts are reported to the Virginia State Police for investigation to ensure the perpetrator faces the full consequences of the law. Additionally, this is grounds for employee termination.

Any form of substantiated consensual sexual activity that occurs within the Jail by staff or offender is also prohibited. The offender will be charged administratively by placing internal disciplinary sanctions for consenting sexual acts, and non-consensual acts will be forwarded to the Prince Edward County Commonwealth Attorney for possible prosecution. Any staff involvement in a PREA incident will be investigated and referred for prosecution to the Prince Edward County Commonwealth Attorney and is grounds for termination.

Reports

In accordance with PREA, all investigations are assigned one of three (3) possible determinations:

  • Substantiated – An allegation that was investigated and determined to have occurred.
  • Unfounded – An allegation that was investigated and determined not to have occurred.
  • Unsubstantiated – An allegation that produced insufficient evidence to make a final determination of a substantiated or unfounded.

Third-Party Reporting

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority initiated PREA in late 2013, and during 2014, the “Third Party Reporting” procedures were implemented. A third-party reporter is someone who reports sexual abuse and sexual harassment but is neither the victim nor the abuser. This person may have been told by the victim about abuse or harassment or witnessed it firsthand. Third-party includes other offenders, staff members, family members, lawyers, contract employees, service providers, community or religious volunteers, etc.

A third party can report any form of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment in person or anonymously in a variety of ways. Under PREA Standards, Piedmont Regional Jail Authority will accept all third-party reports.

A third party can submit a report verbally or in writing without disclosing his/her name or that of the alleged victim or abuser. A report may be submitted in a language other than English. Additionally, a third party has the right to assist an offender with completing and filing their own report of abuse or harassment.

Sexual Abuse – Abuse by another offender, staff member, contractor, or volunteer when the victim does not consent and is coerced into such act by overt or implied threats of violence, or is unable to consent or refuse.

Sexual Assault – Any sexual touching or contact that is non-consensual forced or coerced in any manner, including but not limited to rape, sodomy, or unlawful touching.

Sexual Harassment – (1) Repeated and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal comments, gestures, or actions of a derogatory or offensive sexual nature by one offender directed toward another; and (2) Repeated verbal comments or gestures of a sexual nature to an offender by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer, including demeaning references to gender, sexually suggestive or derogatory comments about body or clothing, or obscene language or gestures.

Sexual Intercourse – Contact, however slight, between the penis and vaginal vestibule, or vulva.

Sexual Misconduct – Any behavior or act of a sexual nature directed toward an offender by an employee, volunteer, visitor, or agency representative; this includes but is not limited to acts or attempts to commit such acts of sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual contact, conduct of a sexual nature or implication, obscenity, and unreasonable invasion of privacy. Sexual misconduct also includes but is not limited to conversation or correspondence that suggests a sexual relationship between an offender and any party mentioned above.

Reporting Procedures

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused or sexually harassed at Piedmont Regional Jail, you can report this in several ways without fear of retaliation against you or the alleged victim. Anyone can report on the behalf of an offender.

You may stay anonymous if you desire; however, in the report, please be sure to provide as much information as possible about the following:

  • Alleged victim
  • Alleged abuser(s)
  • Date
  • Time
  • Location
  • Your contact information (if you wish to be contacted back)

Right To Report

If you or someone you know is experiencing sexual abuse or sexual harassment, Piedmont Regional Jail wants to know. We want offenders to report right away! Why?

We want to keep offenders safe; it is our job! It is your right to be free from sexual abuse and sexual harassment.

We want to conduct an investigation of the reported incident.

We want to hold everyone accountable for any violation of the PREA Policy

We want to provide offenders with relevant information and support services.

Ways To Report

TELL ANY STAFF AT PIEDMONT REGIONAL JAIL

Verbal Reports – Made in person or by telephone to a Jail Official, caller’s identity is not a prerequisite.

Written Communication – By letter or email to the Jail.

Contact the PREA Investigator – (434) 392-1601, Ext. 241

Contact the PREA Coordinator – (434) 392-1601, Ext. 248

Contact the PREA Manager – (434)392-1601, Ext. 297

You may leave a message at: (434) 392-3819

Contact Southside Center of Prevention of Violence: 1-888-819-2926

Offenders may make anonymous calls using the housing area telephones and dialing (1) for English, (2) for Spanish * or # 99999, toll-free to report incidents of sexual misconduct.

False allegations are taken seriously and will be handled to the fullest extent of the law due to the nature, seriousness, and impact of this type of reporting.

PREA Annual Reports

2020
Piedmont Regional Jail Authority
Annual PREA Report and Staff Analysis

Background

In 2003, Congress enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) mandating that correctional facilities nationwide implement measures to prevent, detect and respond to sexual abuse and sexual misconduct of persons in custody of United States Correctional System. The Act created national standards applicable to all correctional facilities, public and private, in the United States. In 2012, specific standards required by this legislation were disseminated nationally by the Department of Justice, and a time table for compliance and subsequent federal compliance audits was set. PREA addresses sexual assault by both offender on offender and staff on offender.

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority upholds the guidelines of PREA by the development of a Jail environment which mandates ZERO-TOLERANCE for any and all incidents of sexual assault, sexual misconduct and sexual harassment whether consensual or non-consensual.

Education

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority implements its ZERO-TOLERANCE policies through a systematic process that begins when the offenders are initially admitted into the Jail.  Piedmont Regional Jail Authority requires each offender observe a video titled “What You Need to Know” and makes available to all offenders through the Kiosk a copy of the offender handbook that further explains their rights to remain free from sexual abuse and sexual harassment and how it is managed within the jail. As part of the intake process, each offender is screened to assess their risk of victimization or predation using an objective measurement tool based on specific risk factors. This tool is utilized to make individualized determination as to their housing assignment and program participation. During the classification process, they are informed of the Medical and Mental Health services available with the Jail. If PREA issues are discovered during the interview, the Qualified Mental Health Person is contacted and immediate services or follow-up appointments are available.

Throughout the Jail, there are posters explaining ZERO-TOLERANCE and the methods to report sexual misconduct in English and Spanish.

All newly hired Jail staff and contractors working within the Jail are required to complete orientation training prior to working in the Jail, which includes PREA training and then viewing several video’s relative to PREA. All correctional staff receive additional PREA training when in attendance at the Basic Jailor’s program conducted by the Central Virginia Training Academy.

Refresher training is provided to all staff on an annual basis.

To prevent various forms of sexual misconduct, Piedmont Regional Jail Authority has numerous video cameras strategically placed throughout the Jail to eliminate blind spots to adequately protect staff and offenders from sexual abuse and to ensure the continued safety of staff and offenders. A review of the Jail was conducted by the staff and the PREA Coordinator to determine the need for additional video cameras and the review revealed that additional video cameras were needed to ensure the safety of the staff and offenders. The Jail has installed additional video cameras and is working with a contractor to add more. Additional facility renovations have been contracted to ensure that the offenders PREA rights are not being violated.

When it comes to sexual activity within the Jail, the policies and procedures are clear: ALL SEXUAL ACTIVITY IS PROHIBITED.  Forced or coerced sexual activity and behavior by staff or offender is a criminal act that merits criminal prosecution. All substantiated sexual criminal acts are reported to the Virginia State Police for investigation to ensure the perpetrator faces the full consequences of the law and additionally, this is grounds for employee termination.

Any form of substantiated consensual sexual activity that occurs within the Jail by staff or offender is also prohibited. The offender will be charged administratively by placing internal disciplinary sanctions for consenting sexual acts, and non-consensual acts will be forwarded to the Prince Edward County Commonwealth Attorney for possible prosecution. Any staff involvement in a PREA incident will be investigated and referred for prosecution to the Prince Edward County Commonwealth Attorney and is grounds for termination.

Reports

In accordance with PREA, all investigations are assigned one of three (3) possible determinations:

  • Substantiated – An allegation which was investigated and determined to have occurred.
  • Unfounded – An allegation which was investigated and determined not to have occurred.
  • Unsubstantiated – An allegation which produced insufficient evidence to make a final determination of a substantiated or unfounded.

In the year beginning January 1, 2019 and ending December 31, 2019 there were two (2) PREA allegations that were determined substantiated. There were a total of two (2) allegations that involved staff which were determined unsubstantiated. There were a total of eight (8) offender on offender allegations. Of these, six (6) were determined unsubstantiated, two (2) unfounded, and zero (0) ongoing. All allegations for this year were reviewed by the Sexual Assault Response Team (SART). The team determined that additional cameras or changes in operational procedures are needed to be initiated in the facility.

Third-Party Reporting

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority initiated PREA in late 2013, and during 2014, the “Third Party Reporting” procedures were implemented. A third-party reporter is someone who reports sexual abuse and sexual harassment but is neither the victim nor the abuser. This person may have been told by the victim about abuse or harassment, or witnessed it firsthand. Third-party includes other offenders, members of staff, family members, lawyers, contract employees, service providers, community or religious volunteers, etc.

A third-party can report any form of sexual assault, sexual misconduct or sexual harassment in person or anonymously in a variety of ways. Under PREA Standards, Piedmont Regional Jail Authority will accept all third-party reports received through:

  • Verbal Reports – Made in person or by telephone to a Jail Official, caller’s identity is not a prerequisite.
  • Written Communication – By letter or email to the Jail.
  • Contact the PREA Investigator – (434) 392-1601, Ext. 241
  • Contact the PREA Coordinator – (434) 392-1601, Ext. 248
  • Contact the PREA Manager – (434) 392-1601, Ext. 297
  • You may leave a message at: (434) 392-3819
  • Contact Southside Center of Prevention of Violence: 1-888-819-2926

Offenders may make third-party reports by using the housing area telephones and dialing 99999 (1) (5), toll free to report incidents of sexual misconduct.

A third-party can submit a report verbally or in writing without disclosing his/her name or that of the alleged victim or abuser. A report may be submitted in a language other than English. Also, a third-party has the right to assist an offender with completing and filing his/her own report of abuse or harassment. In 2019, there were zero (0) third-party reports received.

History

Piedmont Regional Jail was opened in 1988 to serve the counties of Amelia, Buckingham, Cumberland, Lunenburg, Nottoway and Prince Edward. It was originally opened with a rate capacity of 103 offenders and in 2010 raised to a rate capacity of 274. At this time Piedmont Regional Jail Authority holds state, local, and federal offenders with an average daily population of 600 offenders.

Divisions of the Facility

The facility is currently comprised of five divisions:

  • Administrative Services
  • Security Operations
  • Compliance & Training
  • Offender Services & Support
  • Operations

Placement of Supervisory Staff

Supervision at the jail facility is consistent with all applicable Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC), National Commission on Correctional Health Care (NCCHC), and Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards. Video monitoring is utilized throughout the jail facility to enhance security and surveillance but is not used as a substitution for direct staff supervision.

Organizational Restructuring

The Piedmont Regional Jail Authority evaluated their staffing patterns in order to be in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The Superintendent, in conjunction with the Jail’s management team, will evaluate the jail’s staffing, organizational structure, and facility budget on an annual basis to ensure adequate levels of staffing are continuously present.

Staffing Plan

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority is a linear supervision facility and has drafting procedures in place to prevent having a post unattended. The facility utilizes the draft schedule to ensure minimum maintenance of posts at all times. Therefore, there is never an instance where a post is unattended. Piedmont Regional Jail Authority uses the following Staffing and Post Deployment:

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority staffing and post deployment is designed to cover all of the posts designated in the facility. Piedmont Regional Jail Authority security staff currently work eight (8) hour shifts (8-4 shift), (4-12 shift) and (12-8 shift). Each shift is staffed with twenty (20) officers, two (2) Sergeants, and one (1) Lieutenant. There are four (4) shift breaks on each shift, depending on personnel. Sergeants’ and Officers’ rest days are Wednesday/Thursday, Friday/Saturday, or Sunday/Monday; Lieutenants’ rest days are Saturday/Sunday. There is a Captain (Chief of Security) who directly supervises the security Lieutenants. There is a Major (Director of Security and Operations) that supervises the Captain. There are also contingency plans in place to ensure that the mandatory minimum coverage is always adhered to. The following is a chart of the posts that are present at the facility and the number of staff assigned to the post per eight (8) hour shift.

Post                                                     Areas Covered                                    Officers

Back                                         A-Pod, B-Pod, C-Pod, D-Pod                           1 (Male)

Middle                                     M-Pod, 04-Pod, 02-Pod, 03-Pod                     1 (Male)

Front                                        01-Pod, F-Pod, G-Pod                                     1 (Male or Female)

Post 12                                    Main Central Control                                      1 (Male or Female)

L-Central                                 L-Building Central Control                           1 (Male or Female)

I-Central                                  I-Building Central Control                            1 (Male)

L-Floor                                    L-1 Pod, L-2 Pod, L-3 Pod                            1 (Male)

I-Floor                                     I-1 Pod, I-2 Pod                                             1 (Male)

Post 9                                     Female Housing H-Pod, W-Pod                    1 (Female)

Post 10                                  Release Cells: J-1, J-2, J-3, J-4, J-5, J-6        1 (Male or Female)

Intake Cells: I-9, I-10, I-11, I-12, I-16, I-17, I-18, I-19, I-20, I-21, I-22, I-23          1 (Male or Female)

Shift Supervisor                       Supervise the entire Jail                                 1 (Male or Female)

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority mandates that the above staffing deployment is adhered to at the beginning of each and every shift. This deployment is maintained by the use of a daily draft schedule that is posted each month. Officers from each shift are assigned draft days to ensure coverage of each shift, if needed. A minimum of one (1) Supervisor and eleven (11) Officers are required to begin a shift. The mandatory minimum coverage on the shift at any time is one (1) Supervisor and eight (8) Officers. If two (2) officers are required to be utilized for emergency reasons, the officer working the Middle Post and the officer working Post Ten (10) will be utilized for the emergency. The officers working the Front and Back Post will assume the duties of the Middle Officers Post, and the officer working Post Nine (9) will assume the duties of Post Ten (10) along with the assistance of the Shift Supervisor. If the mandatory minimum is in effect, draft personnel will be called in, resulting in being at mandatory minimum only for the time it takes for the drafted officer to report to the jail. If for any reason the facility staffing drops below one (1) Supervisor and eleven (11) Officers, the reason why is documented on the Daily Report Log (DR log) as well as on an incident report. One (1) Majors, two (2) Captains and seven (7) Lieutenants are on call twenty-four (24) hours a day for facility emergencies.

Consideration of Sexual Abuse and Harassment

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority has had minimal allegations of abuse. However, the jail is proactive in allegations of abuse and has identified areas that needed additional monitoring.  Additional staff have been placed in those areas to minimize abuse. Cameras are used to monitor each housing unit; however, the cameras are placed at specific viewing angles in an effort to minimize blind spots and positioned specifically to avoid shower and toilet areas to provide offenders privacy while performing personal hygiene functions.

Video Monitoring

Video Monitoring is utilized throughout the jail to enhance security and surveillance. The

Piedmont Regional Jail Maintenance Department has upgraded existing cameras to IP in the LBuilding, as well as cameras were replaced in the I-Building as well as new cameras, and new cameras were installed in the Utility Building.

Conclusion

The information presented in this report indicates that Piedmont Regional Jail Authority has not received many reports of sexual abuse or harassment. Continued education for staff, offenders, and volunteers will be a continued point of importance by fashioning an atmosphere free from sexual abuse or harassment, so the offenders in our custody can develop more confidently and safely towards their ultimate goals of release from the Jail. Piedmont Regional Jail Authority remains committed to adhering to the requirement of PREA and will continue to thoroughly investigate all allegations of sexual harassment and sexual abuse of offenders in the custody of the jail.

Jerry R. Townsend, Superintendent
12/11/2020
Signature on file