What you should know about PREA - the Prison Rape Elimination Act

A lot of people ask questions related to PREA – from prison administrators who are concerned about maintaining compliance at their detention and corrections facilities, to concerned members of the public who have heard scary prison stories about inmate abuse. This blog post will provide some basic information about what PREA is and why it is important.

Prison rape and other types of sexual assault and sexual violence against inmates are a horrible reality of our criminal justice system, all too prevalent in our nation’s prisons and correctional facilities. In recent years, both the American public and the U.S. government have become increasingly concerned about the effects of prison sexual violence on inmates, both while they remain incarcerated and later when they return to their communities.

As part of a major effort to protect inmates that are victims of sexual predators in prisons and jails, in 2003 the United States enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act. The intent of PREA is not only to protect inmates’ physical and emotional well-being, but to protect the human rights and civil rights of prisoners as well. 

The law is aimed at eliminating prison rape and other forms of sexual violence in prisons and jails through a “zero-tolerance” policy.

In addition, the law requires the U.S Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) “to carry out a comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape for each calendar year.” This research and analysis shows what progress is being made towards curbing prison sexual violence, and helps policymakers, academics, and prison administrators to come up with effective solutions and programs. Also, making this data available to all interested parties – including the public – will help make correctional facilities and administrators more accountable for incidents pertaining to sexual violence and of prison rape, which is likely in itself to help reduce the incidence of these crimes.

At Anchortex, we understand that your correctional facility has to comply with PREA. In addition to preventing prison sexual violence, it is also important to protect inmates’ privacy and dignity. With the use of Shower Curtains and Room Dividers in the correctional facility, you are able to abide by the PREA law while maintaining inmate privacy.

Here are two suggestions for how to protect inmates’ privacy:

1)Use shower curtains that are opaque in the middle for privacy but see-through at the top and bottom for security. The colored opaque part is made from a heavy duty material that is not see-through, which helps the inmate maintain his or her privacy and modesty. In order to allow Corrections Officers to know what is going on at all times, the see-through top and bottom lets the officers see the inmate’s lower legs, shoulders and head, so the inmates can be protected.

These high security or maximum security shower curtains are custom made to meet your facility’s specifications and requirements. The see-through parts are made from either a clear or frosted solid material, or a see-thru mesh material at the top and/or bottom with a colored material in the middle; we are able to provide your facility with exactly what you need. Like standard shower curtains, these can be made to any size dimensions, including standard sized shower stalls and handicapped shower stalls.

2) The use of Room Dividers is also a helpful tool in the protection of inmate privacy. For example, if there is an incident in the facility that triggers the need for inmates to “strip down” for inspection by Correctional Officers, a Room Divider allows the inmate to have privacy from other inmates while letting the Correctional Officers have the ability to do an inspection of the inmate. Anchortex offers mobile Room Dividers, so you are able to move the Room Dividers from room to room, or create a space within a room for privacy.

Anchortex understands your need to find the products that will work best for your facility. We are here to work with you, so you can find the best solutions to have your facility be compliant with the PREA law.