Ten years after Congress passed legislation to address rampant sexual abuse in prison, especially of teenagers and LGBT individuals, the Department of Justice is starting to implement new regulations under the law.
The new policies will impose basic requirements, such as separating
teens in adult prisons, and banning cross-gender pat-downs in juvenile
and female units. Facilities must also develop plans to eliminate rape,
and will be subject to federal audits, U.S. News reports.
Just as the PREA turns ten years old, the first audit was conducted
last week at a federal prison in West Virginia, and more are scheduled
for the coming weeks. But some are alarmed to learn who will perform the
first round of audits. The American Correctional Association, a
membership organization for corrections officers, performs accreditation
for many detention centers, and will be asked to examine sexual assault
prevention as part of that assessment. But the ACA has very close ties
to corrections officers, and a ProPublica analysis
calls it the “very organization that has been criticized over the years
for failing to identify and address safety problems at prisons across