Passed unanimously by Congress over a decade ago, now is the time to fully implement the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). PREA regulations and standards have existed for over two years. The U.S. Department of Justice created the PREA Resource Center to provide readily available resources and technical assistance to states. Over 400 auditors have been trained and are ready to go. Since 2003, the Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA) has issued more than $50 million in federal grants to state and local jurisdictions in more than half the states for PREA implementation.
Each day, over 6000 youth languish in adult jails and prisons where they are at a higher risk of sexual assault and suicide. Compliance with the Youthful Inmate Standard of PREA calls on states to limit contact between youth and adults in adult facilities by banning the housing of youth under 18 in the general adult population, prohibiting contact between youth and adults in common areas, and ensuring youth are constantly supervised by staff. States must also limit the use of isolation which causes or exacerbates mental health problems for youth. These protections are too important to delay.
Carmen E. Daugherty, Esq. Policy Director Campaign for Youth Justice