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Articles tagged with: PREA

New York Case Example: Why Fully Implementing the Youthful Inmate Standard of PREA Means Removing Youth from Adult Jails and Prisons

Maya Williams, Juvenile Justice Fellow Thursday, 13 October 2016 Posted in 2016, Research & Policy

Wednesday, September 21, 2016, the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU) and Legal Services of Central New York (LSNY) filed a class action lawsuit against the Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office and Syracuse City School District on behalf of six named plaintiffs—Black and Latino youth ages 16 and 17 jailed at the Justice Center—and a class of similarly situated youth.

The suit’s charges are over the use of solitary confinement for youth in the adult jail citing, “the use of solitary confinement violates the children’s rights and that the sheriff and school district are denying them an appropriate education in violation of the Fourteenth Amendment, the Eighth Amendment, and the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act.”

Take Action to Protect Youth in Adult Facilities Using Our PREA Action Kit

Jeree Thomas Wednesday, 28 September 2016 Posted in 2016

PREA Week:

October 10 - 14, 2016

#ImplementPREA #EndPrisonRape #NoExcuses

CFYJ PREA orange 01


How can you help?

We need you to encourage your Governor to certify your state’s compliance with PREA by October 15th.   If your Governor can not certify, he or she should release a statement of what it will take for the state to certify compliance with PREA during the next audit cycle. In addition to working to eliminate sexual assault in prisons, PREA has a Youthful Inmate Standard to protect youth under 18 in adult facilities.

Take Action: Contact your Governor Today! Use our sample tweets to encourage your governor to certify PREA compliance on October 15th.

Sample Tweets

@GovernorX The Prison Rape Elimination Act was passed to end sexual abuse behind bars. Act now to #EndPrisonRape

@GovernorX Youth are 36x more likely to commit suicide in an adult jail than in a juvenile detention facility #ImplementPREA

@GovernorX 65% of Youth reported being victimized more than once in adult facilities #ImplementPREA

@Governor X Jails & prisons are not equipped on their own to protect youth from the dangers of adult facilities. #ImplementPREA 


@GovernorX PREA incentivizes states to detect, prevent & respond to sexual abuse in jails and prisons #ImplementPREA


@GovernorX No More Excuses! To protect youth from dangers of adult facilities we must #ImplementPREA TODAY! #youthjustice

Governor Twitter Handles

AL – Robert Bentley @GovernorBentley

AK – Bill Walker @AkGovBillWalker

AZ – Doug Ducey @dougducey

AR – Asa Hutchinson @AsaHutchinson

CA – Jerry Brown @JerryBrownGov

CO – John Hickenlooper @GovofCO

CT – Dannel Malloy @GovMalloyOffice

DE – Jack Markell @GovernorMarkell

DC – Muriel Bowser @MayorBowser

FL – Rick Scott @FLGovScott

GA – Nathan Deal @GovernorDeal

HI – David Ige @GovHawaii

ID – Butch Otter @ButchOtter

IL – Bruce Rauner  @GovRauner

IN – Mike Pence @GovPenceIN

IA – Terry Branstad @TerryBranstad

KS – Sam Brownback @govsambrownback

KY – Matt Bevin @GovMatBevin

LA – John Bel Edwards @LouisianaGov

ME – Paul LePage @Governor_LePage

MD – Larry Hogan @LarryHogan

MA – Charlie Baker @MassGovernor

MI – Rick Snyder @onetoughnerd

MN – Mark Dayton @GovMarkDayton

MS – Phil Bryant @PhilBryantMS

MO – Jay Nixon @GovJayNixon

MT – Steve Bullock @GovernorBullock

NE – Pete Ricketts @GovRicketts

NV – Brian Sandoval @GovSandoval

NH – Maggie Hassan @GovernorHassan

NJ – Chris Christie @GovChristie

NM – Susana Martinez @Gov_Martinez

NY – Andrew Cuomo @NYGovCuomo

NC – Pat McCrory  @PatMcCroryNC

ND– Jack Dalrymple   @NDGovDalrymple

OH – John Kasich @JohnKasich

OK – Mary Fallin  @GovMaryFallin

OR – Kate Brown @OregonGovBrown

PA – Tom Wolf @GovernorTomWolf

RI – Gina Raimondo  @GinaRaimondo

SC – Nikki Haley @nikkihaley

SD – Dennis Daugaard  @SDGovDaugaard

TN – Bill Haslam @BillHaslam

TX – Greg Abbott @GovAbbott

UT – Gary Herbert @GovHerbert

VT – Peter Shumlin  @GovPeterShumlin

VA – Terry McAuliffe @GovernorVA

WA – Jay Inslee @GovInslee

WV – Earl Ray Tomblin @GovTomblin

WI – Scott Walker @GovWalker

WY – Matt Mead   @GovMattMead


Take Action: Sign on here to the Campaign’s Petition to the National Sheriff’s Association to support the removal of youth from adult jails and lockups.

Take Action: Share your experience

In order to understand first hand and support recommendations for change, we need to hear about the experiences of those affected by the current system. If you or a member of your family has been impacted by juvenile and criminal justice policies, please tell us your story using our online toolkits, which can be accessed at http://campaignforyouthjustice.org/take-action/share-your-story-testimonials.These toolkits contain everything you need to effectively tell your story, including consent forms, writing tips and topics to address, and example stories

The Campaign for Youth Justice is also deeply committed to cultivating spokespersons to tell the world why children should not be treated the same as adults in the criminal justice system. If you are interested in learning more about CFYJ or interested in joining our Spokesperson Bureau you can email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call (202) 558-3580.








New Alarming Report on PREA Data

By Anne-Lise Vray Friday, 01 July 2016 Posted in 2016, Research & Policy

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 is a crucial law on many fronts, including for the safety of youth involved in the justice system. One of its provisions is a yearly data collection requirement, carried out by the Bureau of Justice Statistics. This year’s comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape was just released, and it contains some pretty alarming numbers.

According to the report, “The number of youth held in state juvenile systems declined sharply, from 38,580 at year end 2006 to 19,095 at year end 2012. As a result, the rate of sexual victimization allegations per 1,000 youth held in state juvenile systems more than doubled, from 19 per 1,000 youth in 2005 to 47 per 1,000 in 2012.” Despite a significant decrease in the number of youth in the juvenile justice system and the tireless efforts made to widely and properly implement PREA, sexual victimizations have dramatically increased. Additionally, the report cites that 45% of the 9,500 allegations of sexual victimization reported between 2007 and 2012 involved staff-on-youth sexual victimization.

The report also highlights that LGB youth are much more vulnerable to be sexually assaulted while in custody.  LGB youth (10.4%) were more than seven times as likely as heterosexual youth (1.4%) to be assaulted by another youth.

Overall, this document shows that there is still a long way to go in the fight to end prison rape, and that one of the best tools with have to do so is the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which has surfaced the increasing prevalence of the rape and sexual assault of children in custody.  While PREA was passed in 2003, it is unfortunately not fully implemented, though it has become the new standard of care for children in custody. 

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is a federal statute focused on sexual assault and victimization in juvenile facilities, prisons, jail, lockups, and other detention facilities. The goal of PREA is to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse in detention and correctional facilities.  BJS will issue a second report on PREA in November/December 2016 that will report on the safety of youth in adult facilities.

Zero Tolerance: How States Comply with PREA's Youthful Inmate Standard

Thursday, 19 November 2015 Posted in 2015, CFYJ Updates

NEW REPORT: Overwhelming Majority of States Allow Youth to be Housed in Adult Prisons


CFYJ released a new report today, Zero Tolerance: How States Comply with PREA’s Youthful Inmate Standard. This report explores how states house youth under 18 in prisons in the new age of PREA compliance and enforcement. Furthermore, this report highlights national trends in juvenile arrests, crimes, and incarceration of children in the adult system.

The United States’ extraordinary use of adult correctional facilities to house youth presents numerous concerns, including serious, long-term costs to the youth offender and to society at large. Science and research conducted over the last 20 years confirm what common sense tells us: kids are different. Adolescent development and adolescent brain research have prompted leaders across the country to start looking at our juvenile justice system through a developmentally appropriate lens.1 Such a perspective equally applies to the treatment of youth who would be eligible for adult prison sentences. In light of the decline of youth arrests and youth crime, coupled with the requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) the housing status of the 1200 youth under 18 years of age in the adult prison must be investigated. Each state has its own unique prison system, so in order to determine the housing status of youth we gathered information on each state’s statutes, policies, and practices for housing the shrinking — and at times — invisible, population of youth in adult prisons across the country.

Despite the strong language provided in the Prison Rape Elimination Act, state laws vary widely as to the regulations and parameters for housing youth in adult prisons. In fact, some states have no regulations or parameters governing the treatment of youth sentenced as adults at all. While some states have fully removed youth from their prison systems — Hawaii, West Virginia, Maine, California, and Washington — the overwhelming majority of states allow youth to be housed in adult prisons. In fact 37 states housed youth under 18 years of age in their state prisons in 2012. The PREA requirements have become the emerging standard of care for the housing of youth in adult facilities, yet the majority of states still permit the housing of youth in adult facilities, often times with no special housing protections. Once youth are sentenced in adult court to an adult prison term, few jurisdictions have enacted safeguards to protect their physical, mental and emotional health. Additionally, programs and behavioral responses in adult facilities rarely are adjusted to meet the needs of adolescent populations.

Link To Full Report
Link To Executive Summary

Also please help us spewad the word on social media:


-        CFYJ’s latest report explores how states house youth in prisons in the new age of PREA compliance and enforcement http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        CFYJ launches a new report: “Zero Tolerance: How States Comply with PREA’s Youthful Inmate Standard” http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        Despite PREA regulations, the majority of states still permit the housing of youth in adult facilities, highlights CFYJ’s new report http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        According to CFYJ’s latest report, the number of youth incarcerated in the adult prison system has decreased 70% since 2000 http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        CFYJ’s new report finds that youth of color are placed in adult facilities at much higher rates than their white peers http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        Youth housed in adult prisons face higher risks for sexual abuse, physical force or threat of force, says CFYJ’s latest report http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        CFYJ’s new report once again exposes the consequences of sending youth to adult prison: recidivism, abuse and suicide http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        Florida is the state with the highest population of juveniles in prison, according to CFYJ’s latest report http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        Youth in adult prisons recidivate 34% more often than youth in the juvenile system, reminds CFYJ’s new report http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        CFYJ’s latest report once again shows that youth in the adult system commit suicide at greater rates http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF


-        CFYJ just released a brand new report, “Zero Tolerance: How States Comply with PREA’s Youthful Inmate Standard”, which explores how states house youth under 18 in prisons in the new age of PREA compliance and enforcement. The report highlights that despite the official implementation of PREA, the majority of states still permit the housing of youth in adult facilities and/or refuse to comply. Youth housed in adult prison face greater risk of physical abuse and suicide than youth in juvenile facilities. http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

-        CFYJ’s latest report, “Zero Tolerance: How States Comply with PREA’s Youthful Inmate Standard”, once again shows the disastrous consequences of incarcerating youth in adult facilities. Youth in adult prisons recidivate 34% more often than youth in the juvenile system. Youth of color are the first targets of this system and are much more likely to be placed in adult facilities than their white peers. http://bit.ly/1MX7BHF

PREA’s 12th Birthday

Carmen Daugherty Friday, 11 September 2015 Posted in 2015, Across the Country

#ImplementPREAThis week marks the twelfth anniversary since Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) to address the sexual assault and victimization in prisons, jails, lockups, and other detention facilities. Some could characterize PREA’s development as being in its adolescence. Thus, we exercise patience and understanding when the law and regulations aren’t panning out as neatly as Congress could have hoped. Yet, we wait, give rational excuses as to why PREA audits aren’t going as smoothly as anticipated, and hold our collective breath for the Department of Justice to “figure it out”. "Give it time to work", we hear, and we nod our heads in agreement. We recognize that such a massive law with its substantial regulations will take time to trickle down to the states in a way that we, as a nation, feel like the law is “working” and a decrease in rape and abuse in prisons will be well documented. We unwearyingly sit down with other advocates and policy makers to figure out how to strengthen the law. While urgency exists, we focus more on getting it right so another ten years doesn’t pass with the same results.

Ironically, or not to some, we do not exercise the same level of patience, consideration, or solution focused attitudes when it comes to youth involved in the criminal justice system. On any given day, nearly 6200 youth under 18 are sitting in adult jails and prisons. Some in solitary confinement for their own “protection” and some in general population because the crime they have committed automatically makes them an “adult”. All much too young to waste away behind bars; many first time, nonviolent offenders; and none receiving rehabilitative services proven to reduce recidivism and increase public safety.

Fortunately this group of inmates was not forgotten by The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission—a group of experts brought together to provide recommendations to the Department of Justice on creating PREA standards--that made strong recommendations on the removal of youth from the adult system. The Department of Justice took these recommendations in stride and stated “as a matter of policy, the Department supports strong limitations on the confinement of adults with juveniles.”  To advance this position, the PREA regulations include a “Youthful Inmate Standard” to protect youth in adult facilities. That standard provides that youthful inmates, which the standards define as “any person under the age of 18 who is under adult court supervision and incarcerated or detained in a prison or jail,” must be housed separately from adult inmates in a jail or prison, but may be managed together outside of a housing unit if supervised directly by staff.  While not a panacea, it certainly provides a sturdy floor for which states can stand and reach higher with the support from the federal government.

The ACLU and Human Rights Watch estimate 100,000 youth in jails and prisons each year which means a staggering 1.2 million youth have cycled through an adult facility since PREA’s enactment. The vast majority of states statutorily allows the housing of youth in adult jails and prisons. Most without the full protection of what PREA can offer.  Despite these grave figures, incremental progress is documented at the state level with twelve states (CO, ID, IN, ME, NV, HI, VA, PA, TX, OR, OH, MD) passing legislation limiting the states’ authority to house youth in adult jails and prisons in the last decade. Approximately one state a year since PREA's enactment. 

As states continue to work towards full PREA compliance, we should start seeing new policies and regulations that reflect the way states treat young offenders in their facilities.  Ideally, this will lead to the full removal of youth from adult jails and prisons to really see the success of PREA.  Indeed, several states have used the advances in brain research paired with the costs of PREA compliance and falling crime rates to argue for removing youth under 18 from criminal court jurisdiction altogether (e.g. Massachusetts and New Hampshire both raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18, in part to comply with PREA).  

Later this month, Campaign for Youth Justice will release a report that examines the ways that states regulate the housing of youth in adult prisons in the PREA-era. We combed through state statutes and state Department of Corrections' policies to see how youth under 18 are housed. The results are not surprising and reiterate how we punish youth who sometimes make terrible decisions; no second chances. As we recognize in so many other facets of society,  adolescence is a time of mistakes and lessons learned. And when it comes to policymakers, we recognize that the enactment of laws often times require a few years to see results so we exercise patience and have a willingness to tweak where beneficial to society. Shouldn't we do this for some of our most vulnerable youth as well?

"Raise the Age" Victory in New Hampshire: More Kids Treated as Kids

John DeJoie Thursday, 21 August 2014 Posted in 2014, Across the Country, Campaigns

 By Guest Blogger, John DeJoie
NH Kids Count
NH CAN Coordinator/Policy Consultant 

Are 17 year olds really old enough to be sent to adult prisons? In NH, since 1995, the answer has been YES. Over the past decade, as states across the US have recognized that 17 year olds are still children, NH was unwilling to change. Since 2000, Representative David Bickford (R ) attempted to “Raise the Age” without much support, that is until this year. Following on the heels of a successful restoration of the CHINS (Children in Need of Service) statute and funding, the same group of advocates set their sights on modernizing the juvenile justice system in NH, including Raising the Age.

PREA Deadline Has Come and Gone, Seven States "Opt Out"

Carmen E. Daugherty Friday, 30 May 2014 Posted in 2014, Uncategorised

On May 15th, states were required to certify compliance, or provide assurances that it would eventually come into compliance, with the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). This week, according to the Department of Justice (DOJ), only two states have certified full compliance with PREA: New Hampshire and New Jersey. Forty-six states provided assurances that they will continue to work on full implementation and seven state Governors completely rebuked the federal statute and stated they would absolutely NOT comply. These states include: Arizona, Idaho, Indiana, Nebraska, Texas, Utah, and Florida.

Impact of PREA: Advocates Pushing For Implementation, Reform, and Transparency

Friday, 16 May 2014 Posted in 2014, Research & Policy

As we wrap up our PREA "There's No Excuse"  Week of Action, we wanted to highlight efforts across the country and give everyone one more chance to support PREA implementation this week.

How Will Your State Handle Youthful Inmates? PREA Deadline Today

Thursday, 15 May 2014 Posted in 2014, Take Action Now

Today, Governors across the country will certify whether the state is in compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) and make assurances to the Department of Justice that the state will use federal resources to come into compliance with PREA.

Two Days Until PREA Compliance Certification: The Youthful Inmate Standard Matters

Tuesday, 13 May 2014 Posted in 2014, Take Action Now

Prisons and jails across the United States house youth under 18 with adults every single day. The most recent data from the Department of Justice, Bureau of Statistics reports that nearly 4500 youth are held in jails and nearly 2000 in prisons on any given day. According to the new data, Florida houses over 200 youth each day in adult prison, Louisiana and New York, 178 and 182 respectively, Connecticut 143, North Carolina 115, and Michigan and Texas, 106 and 104. Georgia houses nearly 100.

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