Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA)

Public Law 108-79
28 CFR Part 115

National Standards to Prevent, Detect, and Respond to Prison Rape in Confinement Facilities


Since 2003 when President Bush signed PREA into law, the Department of Justice (DOJ has been working to develop national standards for implementation by federal, state, and local correctional organizations. The intended purpose of these standards is to provide comprehensive guidelines for preventing, detecting and responding to incidents of sexual abuse involving inmates in a confinement facility. After a lengthy process that included public review and comment, the DOJ published minimum PREA standards that significantly impact administrative and operational procedures of federal, state and local adult prisons and jails, lockups, community confinement facilities and juvenile facilities. The national PREA standards became effective on August 20, 2012.

On September 1, 2012 Secretary Maynard issued a directive establishing a “zero” tolerance policy for sexual abuse and sexual harassment of inmates. The directive designated the Department’s Chief of Staff as the PREA Coordinator, established a network of PREA Compliance Managers (PCM), formalized the PREA Committee (first formed in 2005), and assigned specific responsibilities to the PREA Coordinator and PREA Committee for oversight of all activities designed to integrate the national PREA standards into Department administrative and operational activities. This directive confirms that the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services:

  • Does not tolerate sexual abuse or sexual harassment of an inmate;
  • Shall continue an aggressive approach to preventing, detecting, and responding to acts of sexual abuse and sexual harassment involving an inmate; and
  • Shall ensure that existing efforts and new strategies to prevent, detect, and respond to acts of sexual abuse and sexual harassment involving an inmate comply with applicable national PREA standards.


All complaints of sexual misconduct or sexual assault are considered to be serious incidents that will be thoroughly investigated. The Departmentís Internal Investigative Unit is in charge of all PREA related investigations and will accept complaints from any concerned individual. Should an investigation reveal misconduct of a criminal nature the case will be referred to the local stateís attorney for prosecution. All confirmed incidents can result in administrative sanctions and/or criminal prosecution.

Contact Us

PREA Coordinator
Office of the Chief of Staff
300 E. Joppa Road,
Suite 1000
Towson, MD 21286

Internal Investigative Unit
Complaint Number
(410) 724-5742