BJS: Bureau of Justice Statistics

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Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS)
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Prison Rape Elimination Act
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The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; Public Law 108-79) requires the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) to carry out a comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape for each calendar year. BJS’s review must include, but is not limited to, the identification of the common characteristics of both victims and perpetrators of prison rape; and prisons and prison systems with a high incidence of prison rape. Analysis must—

  • be based on a random sample, or other scientifically appropriate sample, of not less than 10% of all federal, state, and county prisons, and a representative sample of municipal prisons; and include at least one prison from each state
  • use surveys and other statistical studies of current and former inmates from a representative sample of federal, state, county, and municipal prisons; and ensure the confidentiality of each survey participant
  • provide a list of institutions in the sample, separated into each category and ranked according to the incidence of prison rape in each institution; and provide a list of any prisons in the sample that did not cooperate with the survey.

PREA applies to all correctional facilities, including prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, military and Indian country facilities, and Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. Due to the sensitive nature of violent victimization and potential reluctance to report sexual assault, estimates of the prevalence of such acts do not rely on a single measure. Thus, BJS developed the National Prison Rape Statistics Program (NPRSP), a series designed to collect multiple measures on the incidence and prevalence of sexual assault. No data collection existed that could be used to fully respond to the requirements in PREA. BJS, with the aid of correctional practitioners, researchers, and special interest groups, developed, tested, and revised each collection prior to full national implementation. For these reasons, the data collections have been rolled out consecutively rather than concurrently and each collection is in a different stage of implementation.

NPRSP includes four separate data collection efforts: the Survey of Sexual Violence (SSV), the National Inmate Survey (NIS), the National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC), and the National Former Prisoner Survey (NFPS). Each of these collections is an independent effort and, while not directly comparable, provide various measures of the prevalence and characteristics of sexual assault in correctional facilities. Incidents reported to or observed by correctional or medical officials collected in the SSV administrative records survey may be an underrepresentation of actual incidents. Allegations made anonymously by inmates and youth in the NIS, NSYC, and NFPS may be an overrepresentation of actual incidents, although it is possible this overreporting is offset by some victims who, despite the protocols enacted to assure confidentiality and encourage reporting, remain fearful of retribution or ridicule and fail to report sexual victimization. By using more than one method and measure, the data collections can together provide a deeper understanding of sexual victimization in correctional facilities. For additional information, see the corrections data collections.

Data Collections & Surveys

Publications & Products


PREA Data Collection Activities, 2015 The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108-79) requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress, not later than June 30 of each year, a report on the activities of BJS for the preceding calendar year.
  PDF (348K) | ASCII file (17K)
Part of the PREA Publications Series

Bureau of Justice Statistics receives policy impact award WASHINGTON - The Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) and its data collection agents will receive the 2014 Policy Impact Award from the American Association for Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) for their innovative and salient efforts to measure sexual victimization in correctional facilities under the Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2003 (PREA).
  Press Release | PDF
Part of the PREA Publications Series

PREA Data Collection Activities, 2014 The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79) requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress, not later than June 30 of each year, a report on the activities of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) for the preceding calendar year.
  PDF (439K) | ASCII file (17K)
Part of the PREA Publications Series

Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009-11 ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL VICTIMIZATION IN PRISONS AND JAILS ROSE FROM 2009 TO 2011; SUBSTANTIATED INCIDENTS REMAINED STABLE
  Press Release
Part of the PREA Publications Series

Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 - Statistical Tables ALLEGATIONS OF SEXUAL VICTIMIZATION IN PRISONS AND JAILS ROSE FROM 2009 TO 2011; SUBSTANTIATED INCIDENTS REMAINED STABLE
  Press Release
Part of the PREA Publications Series

Survey of Sexual Violence in Adult Correctional Facilities, 2009–11 - Statistical Tables Presents jurisdiction- and facility-level counts of allegations and substantiated incidents of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment reported by correctional authorities in adult prisons, jails, and other correctional facilities in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
  Press Release | PDF (720K) | ASCII file (21K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 34K)
Part of the PREA Publications Series

Sexual Victimization Reported by Adult Correctional Authorities, 2009–11 Presents counts of nonconsensual sexual acts, abusive sexual contacts, staff sexual misconduct, and staff sexual harassment reported to correctional authorities in adult prisons, jails, and other adult correctional facilities in 2009, 2010, and 2011.
  Press Release | PDF (985K) | ASCII file (43K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format 37K)
Part of the PREA Publications Series

PREA Data Collection Activities, 2013 The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108-79) requires the Attorney General to submit to Congress, not later than June 30 of each year, a report on the activities of the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) for the preceding calendar year.
  PDF (466K) | ASCII file (17K)
Part of the PREA Publications Series

Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012 ABOUT 10 PERCENT OF ADJUDICATED YOUTH REPORTED SEXUAL VICTIMIZATION IN JUVENILE FACILITIES IN 2012
  Press Release
Part of the PREA Publications Series

Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012 Presents data from the 2012 National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC), conducted in 326 juvenile confinement facilities between February and September 2012, with a sample of 8,707 adjudicated youth.
  Press Release | PDF (1.15M) | ASCII file (59K) | Comma-delimited format (CSV) (Zip format) | Supplemental Tables (Zip format 16K)
Part of the PREA Publications Series

Terms & Definitions

Sexual victimization as reported by adult correctional authorities Inmate-on-inmate or youth-on-youth sexual victimization involves sexual contact with a victim without his or her consent or with a victim who cannot consent or refuse.

Nonconsensual sexual acts are the most serious victimizations, and include-

  • contact between the penis and the vagina or the penis and the anus, including penetration, however slight
  • contact between the mouth and the penis, vagina, or anus
  • penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object.

Abusive sexual contacts are less serious victimizations, and include-

  • intentional touching, either directly or through clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of any person
  • incidents in which the intent was to sexually exploit (rather than to harm or debilitate).

Staff-on-inmate or staff-on-youth sexual victimization includes both consensual and nonconsensual acts perpetrated on an inmate by staff. Staff includes an employee, volunteer, contractor, official visitor, or other agency representative. Family, friends, and other visitors are excluded.

Staff sexual misconduct includes any act or behavior of a sexual nature directed toward an inmate by staff, including romantic relationships. Such acts include-

  • intentional touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks with the intent to abuse, arouse, or gratify sexual desire
  • completed, attempted, threatened, or requested sexual acts, occurrences of indecent exposure, invasion of privacy, or staff voyeurism for sexual gratification.

Staff sexual harassment includes repeated verbal statements or comments of a sexual nature to an inmate by staff. Such statements include-

  • demeaning references to an inmate's sex or derogatory comments about his or her body or clothing
  • repeated profane or obscene language or gestures.
 
Sexual victimization as reported by youth in juvenile facilities

Sexual victimization any forced sexual activity with another youth (nonconsensual sexual acts and other sexual contacts) and all sexual activity with facility staff.

Nonconsensual sexual acts any forced sexual acts with another youth and all sexual acts with facility staff involving contact with the penis and the vagina or anus; contact between the mouth and the penis, vagina, or anus; penetration of the anal or vaginal opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object; and rubbing of another person's penis or vagina by a hand.

Other sexual contacts only includes kissing on the lips or another part of the body, looking at private body parts, being shown something sexual, such as pictures or a movie, and engaging in some other sexual act that did not involve touching.

Staff sexual misconduct all sexual activity with facility staff, including contact with the penis and the vagina or anus; contact between the mouth and the penis, vagina, or anus; penetration of the anal or vaginal opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object; rubbing of another person's penis or vagina by a hand; kissing on the lips or another part of the body; looking at private body parts; being shown something sexual, such as pictures or a movie; and engaging in some other sexual act that did not involve touching.

Staff sexual misconduct excluding touching sexual activity with facility staff involving contact with the penis and the vagina or anus; contact between the mouth and the penis, vagina, or anus; penetration of the anal or vaginal opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object; and rubbing of another person's penis or vagina by a hand.

Forced sexual activity includes sexual activity between youth and facility staff as a result of physical force or threat of physical force; force or pressure of some other type (e.g., threatening with harm, threatening to get the youth in trouble, pressuring the youth, or forcing or pressuring in some other way); and in return for money, favors, protection, or other special treatment.

 
Sexual victimization as self-reported by inmates in adult correctional facilities

Sexual victimization all types of sexual activity, e.g., oral, anal, or vaginal penetration; hand jobs; touching of the inmate's buttocks, thighs, penis, breasts, or vagina in a sexual way; abusive sexual contacts; and both willing and unwilling sexual activity with staff.

Nonconsensual sexual acts unwanted contacts with another inmate or any contacts with staff that involved oral, anal, vaginal penetration, hand jobs, and other sexual acts.

Abusive sexual contacts only unwanted contacts with another inmate or any contacts with staff that involved touching of the inmate's buttocks, thigh, penis, breasts, or vagina in a sexual way.

Unwilling activity incidents of unwanted sexual contacts with another inmate or staff.

Willing activity incidents of willing sexual contacts with staff. These contacts are characterized by the reporting inmates as willing; however, all sexual contacts between inmates and staff are legally nonconsensual.

Staff sexual misconduct includes all incidents of willing and unwilling sexual contact with facility staff and all incidents of sexual activity that involved oral, anal, vaginal penetration, hand jobs, blow jobs, and other sexual acts with facility staff.