The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
In 2003, Congress recognized the negative impact of sexual abuse in correctional facilities in the United States and passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in order to address this problem. Its goal is to promote the prevention, detection and punishment of sexual harassment and assault at any prison, jail, lockup or other detention facility housing either adults or juveniles.
Zero-Tolerance for Sexual Abuse or Sexual Harassment (§115.311 and §115.322)
Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention is committed to ensuring a safe and humane environment for all residents. An important part of a safe and humane environment is freedom from sexual misconduct. Resident rights and safeguards are in place for protection from sexual misconduct.
“Sexual misconduct” is a term used to describe certain kinds of prohibited behavior. Sexual misconduct includes sexual harassment, over-familiarity and retaliation.
Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention cannot and will not tolerate any form of sexual misconduct. We recognize the worth of each resident and strive to treat residents with respect and dignity. State statute prohibits resident abuse, which includes sexual contact by a staff member and accordingly, Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention maintains a zero-tolerance policy with regard to sexual misconduct.
Due to the resident’s custody or supervision status, no prohibited act of sexual misconduct can have as an affirmative defense, a claim of consent.
- Consensual sexual intercourse with a resident is by its nature an assault.
- Sexual misconduct includes any sexual behavior that is directed towards a resident.
To fully understand the scope of this crime, it is very important to note the definition of “Sexual Misconduct” which is: “any act or attempted act involving the genitals of one person and the hand, mouth, tongue, or anus of another person or a sexual act including the penetration, however slight, of the male or female sex organ or the anus by a finger, instrument, or object done for the purpose of arousing or gratifying the sexual desire of any person.”
Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention will contact the Albemarle County Police Department whenever a resident has been an alleged victim of sexual abuse while in the care of BRJD. Allegations of sexual abuse that took place prior to a resident’s detainment at Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention will be reported to the Albemarle County Department of Social Services. Ensuing investigations will be in accordance with protocols established by the Albemarle County Police Department and/or the Albemarle County Department of Social Services and may include a referral for prosecution to the Commonwealth Attorney’s Office. Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention will cooperate fully with such investigations.
“Break the Silence” Brochure (§ 115.333)
This brochure is given to every juvenile upon intake. It outlines what sexual abuse and harassment is and more importantly, how juveniles can report if they become a victim while in detention. Included within the brochure are several telephone numbers victims can call to report the abuse and also to receive counseling or services from a victim advocate. Click here for a copy of the PREA brochure:
Third Party Reporting (§115.354)
A complaint may be filed by a third party such as staff members, family members, attorneys, fellow residents or any other interested party. These third party reports of sexual abuse maybe reported in person, in writing, on-line (Report Abuse button above) or by telephone. The resident does not need to agree to have the complaint filed.
If you suspect any alleged abuse of a resident, including sexual contact, you may report it directly to the following individuals/agencies:
Cathy Roessler, Director or
Jay Boland, Deputy Director / PREA Coordinator / PREA Internal Investigator or
Art Daniels, Chief of Security
Blue Ridge Juvenile Detention
195 Peregory Lane
Charlottesville, VA 22902
Albemarle County Department of Social Services
Child Protective Services
1600 5th St., Suite A
Charlottesville, VA 22903
Annual Report (§ 115.388)
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) requires that we, as a juvenile detention facility, collect accurate, uniform data for every allegation of sexual abuse at our facility using a standardized instrument and set of definitions. This information shall be aggregated at least annually. The data collected shall include, at a minimum, the data necessary to answer all questions from the most recent version of the Survey of Sexual Violence conducted by the Department of Justice.
We will maintain, review, and collect data as needed from all available incident-based documents, including reports, investigation files, and sexual abuse incident reviews. Upon request, BRJD shall provide all such data from the previous calendar year to the Department of Justice no later than June 30.
PREA also requires that we review the collected data to see if any corrective action is necessary. We review data collected and aggregated pursuant to § 115.387 in order to assess and improve the effectiveness of sexual abuse prevention, detection, and response policies, practices, and training, including:
- Identifying problem areas;
- Taking corrective action on an ongoing basis; and
- Preparing an annual report of findings and corrective actions for our facility.
This report shall include a comparison of the current year’s data and corrective actions with those from prior years and shall provide an assessment of our progress in addressing sexual abuse. We will remove all personal identifiers and there may be some information that is redacted when publication would present a clear and specific threat to the safety and security of a facility. When this is the case, the nature of the material redacted will be indicated. The report is approved by the Superintendent and made readily available to the public through our website.
We maintain sexual abuse data collected pursuant to § 115.387 for at least 10 years after the date of its initial collection unless Federal, State, or local law requires otherwise.
BRJD has had no allegations of sexual abuse during the calendar year 2019. We take any allegation seriously and we have had a long history and reputation of having a standing zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse or sexual harassment. Our staff is trained extensively in child abuse and neglect reporting, maintaining professional relationships, behavior management, code of ethics and more. Having a strong program that prides itself in preventing, detecting and responding to abuse of any kind takes dedication and pride from everyone. Our teachers, mental health staff, medical staff, security staff and administration all have a part in making our program successful. We are always striving to make our program better and more responsive to our diverse population of kids.
Approved and signed by the Director on February 25, 2020.
PREA Compliance Audits
Per PREA Standards §115.393 – 405, BRJD was audited in March 2016 and found to be fully PREA compliant.