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Back to Archives | Back to August 2012 Contents 


Prison Rape Elimination Act Standards Released: What Local Law Enforcement Needs to Know

On May 17, the U.S. Department of Justice released standards for the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), designed to detect, prevent, and respond to sexual abuse in confinement settings. There are specific standards for any local law enforcement agency operating a lockup. The standards take effect August 20, 2013.

The release of the PREA standards provides an opportunity for law enforcement to take a leadership role on the issue of sexual abuse in confinement by establishing a culture of zero tolerance of sexual abuse in lockups and local jails. While compliance with the PREA standards is not mandatory for local law enforcement, agencies with lockups or local jails might want to voluntarily strive to demonstrate an effort to comply on a meaningful level with these minimum standards of care to help limit the risk of civil liability. The IACP’s goal is to ensure all agencies are informed about the PREA standards so they can act accordingly.

To determine how the IACP can best support agencies operating lockups in understanding and striving toward voluntary compliance with the PREA standards, the IACP Elimination of Sexual Abuse in Confinement Initiative is conducting a PREA needs assessment survey for local lockups. The survey can be completed in 15 minutes and is available online at

Learn more about the IACP Elimination of Sexual Assault in Confinement Initiative, a partnership between IACP and the National PREA Resource Center, by visiting If you have questions, email IACP Program Manager Dianne Beer-Maxwell at ♦

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From The Police Chief, vol. LXXIX, no. 8, August 2012. Copyright held by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, 515 North Washington Street, Alexandria, VA 22314 USA.

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