Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA)
Prevention Of Sexual Abuse Of Offenders
The Department of Corrections and Community Supervision (DOCCS) has zero tolerance for sexual abuse. Staff-on-Inmate and Inmate-on-Inmate sexual abuse violate DOCCS rules and threaten security. All allegations or reports of sexual abuse, including threats of a sexual nature and staff voyeurism are thoroughly investigated. Furthermore, DOCCS deals with any perpetrator of a sexual abuse incident, sexual threat or act of staff voyeurism through discipline and, where there is evidence that a crime was committed, through prosecution to the fullest extent permitted by law.
Any employee who receives a report of sexual abuse must immediately notify his or her supervisor and the Watch Commander to ensure timely notification of the Office of the Inspector General. In addition, all of our employees are under a duty to report any knowledge or reasonable belief of any sexual abuse.
DOCCS played a key role in introducing legislation to make sexual conduct between an employee and an offender under the Department's custody a crime. Shortly after that law was enacted in 1996, the Department established a "Sex Crimes Unit" within the Office of the Inspector General, one of the first in the nation. These specialized investigators work closely with the New York State Police Bureau of Criminal Investigations during investigations.
We also worked with the National Institute of Corrections (NIC), an agency within the U.S. Department of Justice, to develop "Avoiding Inappropriate Behavior Between Staff and Inmates," one of the first training programs designed to confront the problem of staff sexual abuse of incarcerated offenders. This training was first delivered to all of our employees beginning in 1998. Beginning in 2005, DOCCS introduced a training program for all of our employees on the "Prevention of Sexual Abuse of Inmates." Both of these training programs are now used as a part of our curriculum for new employees and for periodic in service training.
Today, DOCCS is proud to be a leader in national efforts to improve correctional practices under the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA). As part of our continuing effort to enhance our policies to prevent the sexual abuse of inmates, the Department has adopted Directive 4027A and Directive 4028A , conducted employee training and issued an all employees memorandum summarizing the agency’s zero tolerance policy. DOCCS has also undertaken efforts to better inform our offender population by producing educational materials including an informational pamphlet and posterto encourage offenders to report any issues involving sexual abuse.