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Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA)

Public Law 108-79
28 CFR Part 115

National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape in Confinement Facilities

In 2003 President Bush signed PREA into law. The Department of Justice (DOJ) then started working to develop national standards for implementation by federal, state, and local correctional organizations. The intended purpose of these standards is to provide comprehensive guidelines for preventing, detecting and responding to incidents of sexual abuse involving incarcerated individuals in a confinement facility. After a lengthy process that included public review and comment, the DOJ published minimum PREA standards that significantly impact administrative and operational procedures of federal, state and local adult prisons and jails, lockups, community confinement facilities and juvenile facilities. The national PREA standards became effective on August 20, 2012.
On September 1, 2012 Secretary Maynard issued a directive establishing a “zero” tolerance policy for sexual abuse and sexual harassment of incarcerated individuals. The directive designates a PREA Coordinator, establishes a network of PREA Compliance Managers (PCM), formalizes the PREA Committee (first formed in 2005), and assigns specific responsibilities to the PREA Coordinator and PREA Committee for oversight of all activities designed to integrate the national PREA standards into Department administrative and operational activities. This directive confirms that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services:

  • Does not tolerate sexual abuse or sexual harassment of an incarcerated individual;
  • Shall continue an aggressive approach to preventing, detecting, and responding to acts of sexual abuse and sexual harassment involving an incarcerated individual; and
  • Shall ensure that existing efforts and new strategies to prevent, detect, and respond to acts of sexual abuse and sexual harassment involving an incarcerated individual comply with applicable national PREA standards.

All complaints of sexual misconduct or sexual assault are considered to be serious incidents that will be thoroughly investigated. The Department’s Internal Investigative Division is in charge of all PREA related investigations and will accept complaints from any concerned individual. Should an investigation reveal misconduct of a criminal nature the case will be referred to the local state’s attorney for prosecution. All confirmed incidents can result in administrative sanctions and/or criminal prosecution.

Audits. In compliance with PREA standards the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services will continue the audit process to certify compliance at all facilities within the required three year period. Copies of PREA audits are available on this website. If unable to access PREA documents please contact the PREA Cordinator at the number and address below

You may contact the Department's PREA Coordinator at the following address:

PREA Coordinator
Office of the Deputy Secretary - Operations
6776 Reisterstown Road,
Baltimore, MD 21215
(410) 585-3391

Or email: