U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government, Department of Justice.

NCJRS Virtual Library

The Virtual Library houses over 235,000 criminal justice resources, including all known OJP works.
Click here to search the NCJRS Virtual Library

Keeping Vulnerable Populations Safe Under PREA: Alternative Strategies to the Use of Segregation in Prisons and Jails

NCJ Number
Allison Hastings; Angela Browne; Kaitlin Kall; Margaret diZerega
Date Published
April 2015
23 pages
In order to facilitate prison and jail administrators' compliance with the Federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), this guide suggests strategies for safely housing inmates at risk of sexual abuse without isolating them.
Under PREA standards, each individual admitted to a confinement facility must be screened for risk of sexual victimization and the perpetration of such victimization. High-quality screenings are the key to making sound decisions about safe housing, programming, and work assignments. PREA standards also emphasize that individuals deemed at high risk for sexual abuse should not be placed in "involuntary" segregated housing unless all available alternatives have been assessed and a determination made that there are no other means of separating them from likely abusers without temporary segregation. Since youths in an adult facility are at high risk for sexual abuse because of their age, they should be housed in juvenile facilities until age 18. If they are housed in an adult facility, they should be in dedicated housing units with age-appropriate programming. Youths in adult facilities should be provided supervised activities with other inmates in their age range. Although many LGBT inmates and others who screen at risk for sexual victimization can be safely housed in the general inmate population, some require additional monitoring and security. Promising practices include allowing at-risk inmates to shower separately, using corrections officers to accompany high-risk inmates when moving through the general population and less secure areas, and prohibiting the teasing and bullying of at-risk inmates. The experiences of inmates at risk for sexual abuse must be monitored through interviews and observation and adjustments made in their management accordingly. 39 notes