Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
Congress enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in 2003. The purpose of the Act is to eliminate sexual assault and staff sexual abuse in prisons, jails, police lockups, private prisons, juvenile facilities and community confinement facilities. The National PREA Standards for Adult Prisons became effective on August 20, 2012. Agencies are required to comply with these standards by demonstrating zero tolerance; not merely by words and written policy, but through their actions, including what they do to prevent sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment and the response when this occurs.
The Colorado Department of Corrections PREA Program
- The Colorado Department of Corrections (CDOC) established a zero-tolerance policy for incidents of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. It makes the prevention and elimination of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment a top priority.
- CDOC designated a PREA Administrator to oversee, coordinate and monitor implementation of these changes as well as be responsible to continually evaluate and seek out new methods to prevent and reduce sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment within the department's facilities, private prisons, community corrections, ISP, YOS programs and parole.
- Requires forensic medical examinations be used whenever possible for sexual assaults.
- Requires all CDOC staff, contract employees and volunteers to attend PREA basic training and annual refresher training.
- Requires specialized training for first responders that covers crime scene preservation, avoiding contamination, following forensic evidence collection protocol as it applies to sexual assault victims and/or sexual predators.
- Other specialized training includes addressing the dynamics of sexual victimization, signs/symptoms associated with sexual violence and appropriate responses and interventions for victims of sexual abuse and/or sexual predators.
- Established a confidential telephone system using a pre-programmed CIPS number 1-877-DOC-TIPS-0 for any offender under the supervision of CDOC to call and report incidents of sexual assault, sexual abuse, or sexual harassment.
- Uses a classification process to identify potential sexual vulnerability and sexually aggressive behavior in offenders.
- Has a Facility PREA Coordinator at each facility.
Agreements with Outside Law Enforcement Agencies
Except where otherwise provided in statutes and/or local law enforcement agreements, the Office of the Inspector General (OIG) will conduct all investigations into allegations of sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. The OIG is responsible to conduct criminal and administrative investigations on allegations of sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment and retaliation resulting from reporting one of these incidents pursuant to C.R.S. 17-1-103.8.
Community correction facilities have an obligation to contact local law enforcement except for return-to-custody offenders. For return-to-custody offenders, the OIG will conduct the investigations.
In accordance, to C.R.S. 17-1-103.8 (2) (a) (III), in the City and County of Denver, the Denver Police Department conducts criminal sexual assault, sexual abuse and sexual harassment related investigations. Crimes will immediately be reported and Denver Police may complete the investigation and report the findings to the District Attorney.
Services Offered to Victims
- Free, confidential rape crisis hotline
- Mental Health counseling
- Forensic Medical Exams performed by Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners
- Provide victim advocacy/victim rights information if applicable
- Provide the opportunity to report incidents to an agency outside CDOC
- Monitoring for retaliation by the Victim Rights Coordinator