The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108–79) (PREA) was signed into law on September 4, 2003, and became the first federal legislation to address sexual assault in the corrections setting. The goal of PREA is to eradicate sexual misconduct by residents and staff in all types of correctional facilities in the United States.
On May 12, 2012, as required by the Act, the Department of Justice released the Final Rule to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape. This landmark rule is the first-ever federal effort to set national standards aimed at protecting inmates from sexual abuse in confinement facilities at the federal, state, and local levels. These national standards apply to four categories of facilities: adult prisons and jails, lockups, community confinement facilities, and juvenile facilities.
The Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP) works with states and territories to ensure their compliance with PREA and to protect youth in juvenile facilities. The PREA Juvenile Facility Standards outline steps to prevent sexual abuse and harassment of youth in confinement. The standards also provide information services for victims in these facilities and procedures for conducting investigations, training staff, and auditing compliance.
The OJJDP Prison Rape Elimination Act program supports PREA-related compliance efforts in state-run juvenile correctional facilities. Through OJJDP's Title II Formula Grants program, funding is provided to states to support their efforts to prevent delinquency, improve the juvenile justice system, and protect youth from harm. Each year, governors must certify that their states are in compliance with PREA standards, or provide assurance that not less than 5 percent of funding shall be used to achieve compliance, or request that funds be held in abeyance. Additional information about OJJDP's PREA program can be found in OJJDP's fact sheet Eliminating Prison Rape Among Juveniles.
OJJDP assesses a 5-percent penalty against the formula grant funding for each year a state or territory fails to comply with the PREA requirements. The funds will be proportionally distributed to states and territories that have submitted the required certification or assurances based on the juvenile population of the participating state or territory. Additional information is available in the PREA Grant Reallocation and Reduction Frequently Asked Questions.
Between fiscal years 2017 and 2019, OJJDP awarded more than $808,000 to help states fully comply with PREA.
- Fiscal Year 2019 – $319,896
- Fiscal Year 2018 – $236,405
- Fiscal Year 2017 – $252,090
Governors' Certifications and Assurances
May 15, 2014, marked the first time Governors were required to inform the Department of Justice (DOJ) of their compliance with the PREA standards. The three DOJ grant-making agencies subject to the PREA statutory provision related to the submission of certifications and assurances were DOJ's Office on Violence Against Women and the Office of Justice Programs' Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) and OJJDP.
The first year of the 5-percent reduction was fiscal year 2014 (October 1, 2013 to September 30, 2014). States that implement PREA have an ongoing obligation for compliance and thus, the PREA reallocation or reduction will be applied each year the Governor does not certify full compliance with the PREA standards.
The Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 (Pub. L. No. 114–324), signed into law on December 16, 2016, includes an important amendment to the PREA statute. Key provisions of the PREA amendment include adoption of national standards, rules for certification and assurance, an abeyance option for states submitting an assurance, new reporting requirements, and sunset of the assurance option. Additional information about the PREA amendment under the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 can be found in the BJA fact sheet.
Material related to Governors' PREA certification and assurance submissions, reductions and reallocations, and other provisions is provided below.
- FY 2014 Letter to the Governors
- FY 2014 List of Certification and Assurance Submissions
- FY 2014 PREA Reallocation and Reduction Amounts by Jurisdiction
- Summary of PREA Implementation Activities Supported by FY 2014 PREA Reallocation Grants
- FY 2015 Letter to the Governors
- FY 2015 List of Certification and Assurance Submissions
- FY 2015 PREA Reallocation and Reduction Amounts by Jurisdiction
- Summary of PREA Implementation Activities Supported by FY 2015 PREA Reallocation Grants
- February 25, 2016 Letter to the Governors
- FY 2016 Certification and Assurance Submissions
- FY 2016 PREA Reallocation and Reduction Amounts by Jurisdiction
- September 7, 2018 Letter to the Governors
- FY 2019 PREA Reallocation and Reduction Amounts by Jurisdiction
- Department of Justice Final Rule - National Standards To Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape
- OJP PREA Resources webpage
- OJJDP Title II Part B Formula Grants Program PREA Grant Reallocation and Reduction - Frequently Asked Questions
Tools and Training
- Bureau of Justice Assistance National PREA Resource Center
- National Institute of Corrections