Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

Zero Tolerance

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office has zero tolerance for sexual abuse and sexual harassment toward any incarcerated individual. Sexual abuse and sexual harassment violate Department rules and threaten security. All reports of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and retaliation against an incarcerated individual or staff member for reporting or taking part in an investigation of possible sexual abuse or harassment will be thoroughly investigated.

The Sheriff’s Office deals with any perpetrator of a sexual abuse incident, sexual harassment incident, act of staff voyeurism or retaliation through discipline and, where there is evidence that a crime was committed, through prosecution to the fullest extent permitted by law.

Employees, contractors or volunteers receiving reports of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, or retaliation must immediately notify their supervisor and either the facility Watch Commander or Security Captain to ensure timely notification to the department’s PREA Coordinator. Sheriff’s employees, contractors, and volunteers are obligated to report any allegation, knowledge, suspicion, or information regarding any sexual abuse or related misconduct.

Report Sexual Abuse

The Sheriff’s Office investigates all reports of sexual abuse, sexual harassment, and retaliation in connection with a sexual abuse or harassment matter. All reports, including third-party and anonymous reports are confidential and will be thoroughly investigated.

Incarcerated individuals are encouraged to report incidents to facility staff to permit the most expeditious response. They may also report by writing to the Chief Deputy, any member of the facility Executive Team, facility staff, Internal Affairs, or to the Department’s PREA Coordinator.

Third-party reports on behalf of anyone under the Department’s custody or supervision can be made by contacting the facility PREA Coordinator. After hour reports concerning an incarcerated individual may be made to the facility Watch Commander.  Anyone may report an incident of sexual victimization involving an incarcerated individual to the Agency’s Internal Affairs Unit or by utilizing this web link https://sheriff.ongov.net/contact/

Get Informed

Pursuant to the PREA Standards, the Agency conducts PREA Audits of the Justice Center, and the final report of those audits are available for review. Beginning in 2020, the Justice Center will be required to undergo an independent audit under the PREA Standards for Prison and Jails. The assessor will then provide the Department with a copy of their final audit report for publication.

For more information on the Prison Rape Elimination Act and national efforts to end custodial sexual violence, you can visit:

  • PREA Standards
  • PREA Resource Center
  • National Institute of Corrections
  • Office of Justice Programs
  • Just Detention International
  • The Moss Group, Inc.
  • Final Audit Reports

Learn More About PREA  https://www.prearesourcecenter.org/about/prison-rape-elimination-act-prea

What is PREA

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA, P.L. 108-79) was enacted by Congress to address the problem of sexual abuse of persons in the custody of U.S. correctional agencies.

The Act applies to all public and private institutions that house adult or juvenile offenders and is also relevant to community-based agencies. It addresses both inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse and staff sexual misconduct. On June 23, 2009, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission released and forwarded to the U.S. Attorney General its final report and proposed standards to prevent, detect, respond to and monitor sexual abuse of incarcerated and detained individuals. Based on the Attorney General’s independent judgment, a final rule was published to the Federal Register on June 20, 2012.

Major provisions of PREA include:

  • Adherence to a zero-tolerance standard for the incidence of inmate sexual assault and rape;
  • Development of standards for detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of prison rape;
  • Collection and dissemination of information on the incidence of prison rape; and
  • Award of grant funds to help state and local governments implement the purposes of the Act.
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