In Washington State, there is a Sexual Assault Support and Information Line that is operated by an independent agency outside of the Department of Corrections. Services through this line are free. Calls are not recorded and do not require your PIN. If you’ve been affected by sexual assault or abuse, you can call this line for private support services at (855) 210-2087. The Support and Information Line hours are Monday through Friday from 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM.
What is PREA?
The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) is the first federal law passed to address sexual violence in prisons and jails. PREA states that sexual assault in detention can constitute a violation of the eighth amendment of the U.S. Constitution and requires that facilities adopt a zero-tolerance approach to this form of abuse. PREA's requirements apply to all detention facilities, including federal and state prisons, jails, police lock-ups, private facilities, and immigration detention centers.
PREA created the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC), which was charged with recommending to the Attorney General standards for responding to and preventing sexual violence in confinement. After reviewing the proposed standards and receiving input, the Attorney General published the final rule containing these standards for public comment in May 2012, and it became effective on August 20, 2012. The standards apply to federal and state prisons, jails, juvenile detention facilities, lockup and community confinement. The Department of Homeland Security was responsible for writing the PREA Standards that apply to immigration detention facilities. Those standards were not finalized until February 2014.
PREA in Washington State
WCSAP was fortunate to receive an initial PREA grant award in 2004 to work collaboratively with stakeholders and the Washington State Department of Corrections on PREA considerations. The funding supported critical partnerships, the development of internal practices for the Department, and training and resource development for sexual assault community advocates in Washington State. To date, the state continues to address PREA issues.
The PREA standards require that inmates have access to external, confidential victim services. In 2012, shortly after the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards were finalized, WCSAP began meeting with the Office of Crime Victims Advocacy (OCVA) and the Washington State Department of Corrections (WADOC) to discuss implementation of the PREA Victim Services Standards in prison and work release facilities in our state. The purpose of this partnership is to create a statewide, coordinated response to sexual assault advocacy services for individuals incarcerated in DOC prison and work release facilities in Washington.
To read more about the partnership and project, you can view our recent issue of Connections on Advocacy with Incarcerated Survivors of Sexual Violence in Washington State. In addition, WCSAP and the other state partners were featured on the national webinar "Developing Partnerships with Community-Based Service Providers Part I." The webinar and the PowerPoint presentation are archived on the PREA Resource Center website. Contact WCSAP for more information about this ongoing project.
In our ongoing effort to ensure confidential advocacy services are available to all survivors, including survivors in jails, juvenile detention, prisons, and work release facilities, WCSAP recently convened a work group of corrections stakeholders, who are leaders in their respective fields. This work group, and ongoing consultation with community-based advocates in Washington State, is informing WCSAP's continued work on this essential issue.
WCSAP members can seek support for their work with incarcerated survivors of sexual violence by contacting WCSAP. Please note that some funding sources have restrictions that may prohibit providing services to incarcerated individuals. Programs should consult with their funders to ensure services are supported.
Advocacy Resources and Organizations
- Sexual Abuse in Immigration Detention - Resources for Advocates from the ACLU
- Just Detention International (JDI) is a health and human rights organization that seeks to end sexual abuse in all forms of detention
- The National PREA Resource Center provides assistance to correctional entities, inmates and their families in their efforts to eliminate sexual abuse in confinement
- Hope Behind Bars: An Advocate's Guide to Helping Survivors of Sexual Abuse in Detention from JDI
- Additional Advocate Resources for helping survivors of sexual assault in detention from JDI
- Understanding Rape in Prison from the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape (PCAR)
- Stories from Survivors from JDI
- Prison Rape Elimination Act Standards: An Overview for Community Service Providers (JDI 2013)
- Vulnerable Detainees: Survivors of Previous Abuse fact sheet (JDI 2013)
- Targets for Abuse: Transgender Inmates and Prison Rape fact sheet (JDI 2013)
- Mental Illness and Sexual Abuse Behind Bars fact sheet (JDI 2013)
- Meeting the Need of Prison Rape Victims: A Technical Assistance Guide for Sexual Assault Counselors and Advocates (PCAR 2006)
Research, Statistics, and Standards
- Prison Rape Elimination Act Standards for all detention facility types
- Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth (US Department of Justice 2012)
- The National Prison Elimination Commission Report (NPREC 2009)
- The Basics about Sexual Abuse in U.S. Detention (JDI 2009)
- Report on Rape in Jails in the U.S: Findings and Best Practices (US DOJ 2008)
- Prison Rape: A Critical Review of the Literature (National Institute of Justice 2004)
- No Escape: Male Rape in U.S. Prisons (Human Rights Watch 2001)