Newport News Sheriff’s Office Meets PREA Standards
The Prison Rape Eliminate Act was passed in 2003. The purpose of the act was to provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations, and funding to protect individuals from prison rape. In 2009, the U.S. Attorney General received a final report on proposed standards, and in 2012, a final rule was published to the Federal Register.
The Newport News Sheriff’s Office is one of the first to implement the standards in its local jail.
In July of 2014, the Newport News City Jail was reviewed by Department of Justice (DOJ)-certified PREA auditors. Their visit was to ensure the correctional facility is PREA compliant. During preliminary screenings upon a detainee’s arrival to the Newport News City Jail, offenders are provided information regarding PREA and how to report any allegations of sexual harassment or sexual abuse. Additionally, PREA information is posted in all housing units and halls. A PREA video is also played daily on all televisions throughout the jail housing areas.
The auditors toured the jail and jail annex, poured over documents, and randomly interviewed both staff and inmates. The report noted their approval of required training and staff knowledge about PREA, the zero tolerance policy, offender rights regarding PREA, first response, and evidence collection. In addition to training sworn deputies, the auditors were impressed by the standard of training provided contractors and volunteers.