Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Toolkit - End the Abuse: Protecting LGBTI Prisoners from Sexual Assault, American Civil Liberties Union (2014)

Guides (Legal or Medical)

This toolkit is designed for advocates working to protect people who are incarcerated and identify as LGBTI. It is also helpful as a know-your-rights brief for LGBTI individuals who are incarcerated. The toolkit provides general examples of policies and procedural guidelines as they relate to the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003. While it does not provide many clear initiatives, it provides advocates with specific changes they can promote. The toolkit is comprehensive and progressive in its efforts to address the varying challenges faced by people who identify as LGBTI.

PREA became law in 2003 and was implemented May 17, 2012. Institutions were expected to modify their policies and practices by August 2013. The regulations apply to federal, state, and local governments, and to private prisons contracted with government agencies. Specifically, it concerns prisons, jails, police lock-ups, juvenile detention centers and community confinement facilities, and some states expanded its application to other settings. PREA aims to protect LGBTI individuals by establishing competent and inclusive regulatory guidelines for policies, procedures involving housing and placement, protective custody, and searches. PREA also set forth minimum staff competencies and established mechanisms for oversight of institutions.

This toolkit explains that PREA does not create a private right of action to sue for violations of the legislation or regulations. Instead, it may be possible to argue that sustained noncompliance with PREA standards is proof of purposeful neglect by facility officials for failing to meet constitutional obligations and deliberately putting the well-being of people who identify as LGBTI at significant risk.

The ACLU is collecting information about individual PREA violations, non-compliant policies and other systemic violations of the rights of LGBTI persons in prison, jail, juvenile detention, and community corrections facilities. Contact the ACLU’s LGBT & AIDS Project at cstrangio@aclu.org or its National Prison Project at afettig@aclu.org, with any questions about monitoring PREA compliance in your city, county, or state, or to identify violations in a specific facility or jurisdiction.