Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

What is PREA?

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) establishes a Zero-Tolerance standard towards all forms of sexual abuse and sexual harassment of incarcerated persons. It is Public Law 108-79, signed in September 2003 by President Bush. PREA sets a standard that protects the Eight Amendment rights of Federal, State, and local prisons - making the prevention of sexual abuse, and sexual harassment a top priority. It also increases available data on sexual abuse, sexual harassment and it increases the accountability for administrators who fail to prevent, reduce, and punish this type of behavior.

The Bay County Sheriff's Office is committed to a Zero-Tolerance standard for sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. The Bay County Sheriff's Office, Jail Facility has developed uniformed guidelines and procedures to reduce the risk of in-custody sexual abuse, and sexual harassment activity. Inmates who experience these types of behaviors are strongly encouraged to report this type of behavior. We also support the prosecution of persons who commit acts of sexual abuse, and sexual harassment in our facilities.
The Bay County Sheriff's Office is committed to a Zero-Tolerance standard for sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. The Bay County Sheriff's Office, Jail Facility has developed uniformed guidelines and procedures to reduce the risk of in-custody sexual abuse, and sexual harassment activity. Inmates who experience these types of behaviors are strongly encouraged to report this type of behavior. We also support the prosecution of persons who commit acts of sexual abuse, and sexual harassment in our facilities.

You can learn more about PREA at the web sites for the National Institute of Corrections and the National PREA Resource Center . For more information, a copy of the annual, a copy of the PREA Inspection Report or to report a possible PREA allegation please contact the Jail at (850) 785-5245.

 

2021 PREA Annual Report

   

The Bay County Sheriff's Office has a zero tolerance for any incidence of rape, sexual assault or sexual misconduct and complies with all applicable components of the PREA Act.  Implementation of these standards to combat sexual abuse in confinement facilities will be contingent upon effective agency and facility leadership, and the development of an agency's principles prioritizing efforts to combat sexual abuse.

Sheriff's Office Jail Division will continue conducting an aggressive annual training program specific to the prevention, identification, reporting, and handling of inmate sexual misconduct/sexual assault, including common indicators of misconduct to all staff.  Other efforts include, but are not limited to: continued Staff education concerning sexual misconduct throughout the facility, continue to revise and update BCSO policy and procedures as it relates to sexual misconduct, and continued inmate training through updated brochures and posters throughout facility.

Since the passing of the PREA standards, the BCSO designated a PREA Coordinator within the Jail Division.  A substantial responsibility of the position is to ensure compliance with PREA standards by continual development of policies, implementation, training and constant review of the PREA policies and procedures.  The BCSO entered into a Memorandum of Agreement with the Gulf Coast Sexual Assault Program which maintains a 24 hour hot line, and also provides incarcerated victims of sexual abuse appropriate victim advocate support.


Sexual Abuse Report Activity

Inmates may confidentially disclose incidents of  sexual abuse and sexual harassment to any Sheriff's Office employee, either verbally or in writing.  This process allows for confidential reporting by inmates 24 hours per day, 7 days a week.  The administrative investigation shall be completed not later than 90 days of the initial filing of the complaint or grievance. 
The following are the Department of Justice reported numbers for 2020, in the Bay County Jail:

Inmate-on-Inmate

Non-Consensual Sexual Acts / Harassment

Number Reported        23

Substantiated               04            

Unsubstantiated           04          

Unfounded                   15

Staff Sexual Misconduct / Harassment

Number Reported         01

Substantiated               00

Unsubstantiated           00

Unfounded                   01

Thorough and systematic investigations of sexual victimization are conducted by the Bay County Sheriff's Office.  All investigations incorporate current incident review criteria pursuant with PREA standard 115.86.

In Fiscal Year 2020, a critical incident review of substantiated and unsubstantiated cases were conducted by Jail Facility Personnel consisting of the PREA Coordinator, Security and Administrative Chiefs, Medical, and facility Investigator.  These hearings are thorough and systematic reviews of sexual victimization and incorporate current incident review criteria pursuant with PREA Standard 115.86.


Rev 03/29/2022