The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) aims to eliminate sexual abuse in correctional institutions. In line with PREA national standards, facilities must be audited once in a 3-year audit cycle, and one-third of each facility type operated by an agency must be audited once per year.
Departmental Response to Sexual Assault or Misconduct Allegations
- Employees have a duty to report all rumors and allegations of sexual assault and sexual misconduct through the chain of command.
- Local Sexual Assault Response Teams (S.A.R.T.) will ensure alleged victims of sexual assault receive immediate medical attention.
- The local S.A.R.T. will also ensure alleged victims of sexual assault or sexual misconduct receives a mental health evaluation.
- All allegations of sexual assault will be reported to Internal Investigations for investigation.
Employee Awareness and Education
- All employees will receive training about the federal law, state law, and departmental policy governing sexual contact with offenders.
- All employees will receive annual training concerning their duty to report rumors or allegations of sexual assault or sexual misconduct, to whom they should report, how they should report, and when they should report such incidents.
- All employees will receive training about how to detect an unreported incident of sexual assault.
- Vendors, contractors, volunteers, and visitors authorized to have contact with offenders must read the Department's zero-tolerance policy statement and sign to indicate agreement to abide by its terms.
Inmate Awareness and Training
- Offenders will receive written notice and training on how to avoid becoming a target for sexual assault.
- Offenders will receive notice in the Offender Handbook that sexual contact is strictly prohibited and punishable by disciplinary action and criminal prosecution.
- Offenders will receive training on what to do if they have become a victim of sexual assault, including the various reporting methods and how to preserve physical evidence.
- The Department will implement a toll-free 800 number to allow offenders to report incidents of sexual assault or sexual misconduct without fear of reprisal.
Inmate Classification and Housing
- All offenders will receive a comprehensive evaluation during initial intake to identify risk factors associated with sexual assault.
- Classification of victims or perpetrators of sexual assault or sexual misconduct will be closely monitored and all movements will be coordinated across departments to prevent repeated incidents.
Investigations of Sexual Assault and Misconduct
- GDC is dedicated to producing quality investigations of alleged sexual assaults and sexual misconduct incidents.
- All investigators will receive specialized training specific to sexual assaults in correctional institutions.
- Internal Investigations, in consultation with the agency's Legal Office, will aggressively refer substantiated cases of sexual assault by offenders or employees to the local district attorney's office for criminal prosecution and will cooperate in whatever manner necessary to ensure such cases are prosecuted.
- GDC has zero tolerance for sexual contact or sexual misconduct.
- Offenders who have nonconsensual sexual contact with another offender will be strongly disciplined and referred for criminal prosecution.
- Employees who engage in sexual contact or sexual misconduct with offenders will be terminated from employment and referred for criminal prosecution when applicable.
PREA Coordinator and Data Collection
The Statewide PREA Coordinator serves as the department's full-time liaison regarding all PREA-related issues. The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003 and the Department of Justice Final Rule (2012), 28 CFR Part 115, National Standards To Prevent, Detect and Respond to Prison Rape, prohibits and seeks to eliminate sexual abuse of offenders in custody. Pursuant to PREA and Georgia criminal laws, the Georgia Department of Corrections has a zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse of offenders.
The Coordinator provides consultation, guidance and assistance to facilities' staff. The Coordinator analyzes reported data, keeps agency and prison leadership informed on trends, lessons learned and best practices for prevention, detection and response to sexual abuse of offenders. The Coordinator conducts annual PREA audits of facilities to guide facility operations toward full PREA compliance and assists with corrective actions for non-compliant areas.