PREA


PRISON RAPE ELIMINATION ACT (PREA)

ZERO TOLERANCE POLICY

In 2003, Congress enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) mandating that correctional facilities nation-wide 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 were set.  PREA addresses sexual assault by both inmate on inmate and staff on inmate.

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.

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority implements its “ZERO-TOLERANCE” policies through a systematic process that begins when the inmates are initially admitted into the Jail.  Piedmont Regional Jail Authority requires each inmate observe a video titled, “What You Need to Know”, and made available to all inmates through the Kiosk a copy of the inmate handbook that 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 inmate 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 are available or a follow-up appointment is 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 them viewing several video’s relative to PREA.  All correctional staff receives additional PREA training when 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 inmates from sexual abuse and to ensure the continued safety of staff and inmates.  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 inmates.  The Jail has installed additional video cameras and is working with a contractor to add even more video cameras.  Additional facility renovations have been contracted to ensure that the inmates 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 inmate 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 is grounds for employee termination.  

Any form of substantiated consensual sexual activity that occurs within the Jail by staff or inmate is also prohibited.  The inmate 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.

Third-Party Reporting

Piedmont Regional Jail Authority initiated PREA in late 2013 and during the 2014 the “Third Party Reporting” procedures was 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 victim about abuse or harassment, or witnessed it first-hand.  Third-party includes other inmate, 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.

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 inmate with completing and filing his/her own report of abuse or harassment.

Sexual Abuse – Abuse by another offender or a 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

If you or someone you know has been sexually abused or sexually harassed at Piedmont Regional Jail:

You can report this following several ways without fear of retaliation against you or the alleged victim.  Anyone can report on the behalf of an inmate.  You may stay anonymous if you desire, however, in the report, please be sure to provide as much information as possible:

  • 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, are 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 form 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 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

Inmates may make anonymous calls by 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.