For The Prevention, Detection, Response, and
Sexual Abuse in:
The following terms are used throughout the standards, and agencies should note and understand the definitions of these terms as provided below to ensure proper compliance with the standards. The Commission wishes to draw special attention to the fact that the definitions of sexually abusive conduct that appear here differ from the definitions used by the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). The Commission recognizes that the BJS definitions have been used by agencies for data collection purposes but has formulated somewhat different definitions to capture the full range of conduct the standards seek to address. Additionally, the Commission has deliberately excluded definitions for defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender indecent exposure and voyeurism. Legal definitions for indecent exposure and voyeurism rely on the concept of a sphere of privacy, and although defendants/offenders have a legally cognizable privacy interest, that interest is extremely limited by security interests. Because the extent of defendants/offenders’ privacy rights necessarily varies according to legitimate security needs, so too would the circumstances in which it would be appropriate to penalize defendants/offenders for indecent exposure and voyeurism, complicating the task of setting forth a clear policy and consistent practice of enforcement. The reality is that defendants/offenders could be in states of undress around other defendants/offenders and staff, raising the possibility that inmates might be penalized for conduct that is part of the ordinary course of life under community corrections supervision.
Agency: The unit of a governing, corporate, or nonprofit authority with direct responsibility for the operation of any community corrections program that supervises defendants/offenders, whether adults or juveniles, including the implementation of policy as set by the governing, corporate, or nonprofit authority.
Agency head: The chief authority of a Federal, State, or local community corrections system.
Allegation: An oral, written, or electronic statement that sexual abuse has occurred or might occur that is provided to a staff member, volunteer, or outside agency.
Audit: A thorough investigatory review of information, including written records and interviews with staff and defendants/offenders, to determine whether and the extent to which an agency’s or facility’s policies, practices, and protocols comply with the PREA standards.
Auditor: An individual or entity that the jurisdiction employs or retains by contract to perform audits. An auditor may also be authorized by law, regulation, or the judiciary to perform audits; however, an auditor cannot be an agency employee. An auditor is able and prequalified by the U.S. Department of Justice to perform audits competently and without bias. Prequalification does not require prior employment with any particular agency.
Community corrections: Supervision of individuals, whether adults or juveniles, in a community setting as a condition of incarceration, pretrial release, probation, parole, or post-release supervision. These settings would include day and evening reporting centers.
Contractor: A person who provides services other than direct services to defendants/offenders on a recurring basis according to a contractual agreement with the agency (e.g., maintenance contractors).
Credibility assessment: An investigator’s process of conducting interviews and weighing evidence to determine the truthfulness of victim, witness, and suspect statements.
Critical incident: An occurrence or event, natural or human-caused, which requires an immediate response to protect life, facility safety, or property.
Cultural competence: The ability to work and communicate effectively with people of diverse racial, ethnic, religious, and social groups based on an awareness and understanding of differences in thoughts, communications, actions, customs, beliefs, and values.
Defendant: A person, whether adult or juvenile, under the jurisdiction of an agency in pre-adjudication status.
Employee: A person who works directly for the agency or facility, or a person who provides direct services to defendants/offenders on a recurring basis according to a contractual agreement with the agency (e.g., contracted food service providers).
Facility: A place, institution, building (or part thereof), set of buildings, or area (whether or not enclosing a building or set of buildings) where defendants/offenders reside pursuant to a court order or condition of supervision for purposes of confinement, care, and/or treatment. A facility may be owned by a public, private, or nonprofit agency.
Facility head: The chief authority of an individual confinement facility operated by a Federal, State, or local correctional or law enforcement agency or by a private entity (whether for-profit or nonprofit).
Gender identity: A person’s internal, deeply felt sense of being male or female, regardless of the person’s sex at birth.
Gender nonconforming: A person whose gender identity and/or expression do not conform to gender stereotypes generally associated with his or her birth sex.
Intersex: A condition usually present at birth that involves reproductive, genetic, or sexual anatomy that does not seem to fit the typical definitions of female or male.
Jurisdiction: A legal entity of government with geographic boundaries, such as the United States, a State, a county, or a municipal entity.
Medical practitioner: A health professional who, by virtue of education, credentials, and experience, is permitted by law to evaluate and care for patients within the scope of his or her professional practice. A “qualified medical practitioner” refers to such a professional who has also successfully completed specialized training for treating sexual abuse victims.
Mental health practitioner: A mental health professional who, by virtue of education, credentials, and experience, is permitted by law to evaluate and care for patients within the scope of his or her professional practice. A “qualified mental health practitioner” refers to such a professional who has also successfully completed specialized training for treating sexual abuse victims.
Need to know: A criterion for limiting access of certain sensitive information to individuals who require the information to make decisions or take action with regard to a defendant/offender’s safety or treatment, or to the investigative process.
Offender: A person, whether adult or juvenile, under the jurisdiction of an agency in post-adjudication status.
Parole: The discretionary release authority of an agency to determine when and under what conditions a defendant/offender is released from a period of incarceration and to determine responses to violations of parole conditions.
Parole or post-release supervision agency: The correctional agency responsible for supervising defendants/offenders released by a parole board, by statutorily defined release supervision conditions, or by executive clemency. Its functions may include prerelease investigations, parole plan preparation for prospective parolees, and the supervision of adults having parole or other conditional release status.
Parolee: A person who has been placed on parole by a releasing authority.
Pat-down search: A superficial running of the hands over the body of a defendant/offender by a staff member to determine whether the defendant/offender possesses contraband.
PREA coordinator: A senior-level position that reports directly to the agency head. The PREA coordinator’s responsibilities include developing, implementing, and overseeing the agency’s plan to comply with the PREA standards. He or she is also responsible for ensuring the completion of the assessment checklists in this body of standards. The PREA coordinator is a full-time position in all agencies that operate their own community corrections facilities housing more than 500 defendants/offenders in one location. The PREA coordinator may be a part-time position in agencies that operate their own community corrections facilities with less than 500 defendants/offenders in one location or those agencies that solely contract with community corrections providers for the placement of defendants/offenders. The PREA coordinator may also be a part-time position in probation, pretrial, and parole agencies.
Preponderance of the evidence standard: The standard of proof used in most civil cases that requires the party bearing the burden of proof to present evidence that is more credible and convincing than the evidence presented by the other party. This standard is satisfied if the evidence shows that it is more probable than not that an event occurred. Preponderance of the evidence is a lesser standard of proof than “beyond a reasonable doubt,” which is required to convict in a criminal trial.
Pretrial: The status of a person who may be detained or released while awaiting trial for an alleged offense. Pretrial release may involve restrictive conditions ordered by the court and supervised by a pretrial services or diversion agency.
Pretrial services agency: An agency of the criminal justice system that interviews and verifies information on defendants prior to initial court appearance, makes recommendations to the court for release decision making in some jurisdictions, and supervises pretrial defendants in the community under conditions set by the court.
Probation: A court-ordered disposition that permits a convicted or adjudicated offender to serve a sentence or suspended sentence in the community under the control, supervision, and care of a probation officer and under specific conditions of supervision. A probation sentence may include serving time in jail, payment of fines, and other required penalties and conditions of behavior.
Probationer: A person who is placed on probation status and required to meet prescribed conditions of behavior.
Protocol: Written instructions that guide the implementation of policies.
Report: Any allegation of sexual abuse. See definition of allegation.
Sexual abuse: Encompasses (1) defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse, (2) defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexual harassment, (3) staff-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse, and (4) staff-on-defendant/offender sexual harassment.
(1) Defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse: Encompasses all incidents of defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexually abusive contact and penetration.
Defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexually abusive contact: Non-penetrative touching (either directly or through the clothing) of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks without penetration by a defendant/offender of another defendant/offender without the latter’s consent, or of a defendant/offender who is coerced into sexual contact by threats of violence, or of a defendant/offender who is unable to consent or refuse.
Defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexually abusive penetration: Penetration by a defendant/offender of another defendant/offender without the latter’s consent, or of a defendant/offender who is coerced into sexually abusive penetration by threats of violence, or of a defendant/offender who is unable to consent or refuse. The sexual acts included are:
• Contact between the penis and the vagina or the anus;
• Contact between the mouth and the penis, vagina, or anus; or
• Penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger, or other object.
(2) Defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexual harassment: Repeated and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, verbal comments, or gestures or actions of a derogatory or offensive sexual nature by one defendant/offender directed toward another.
(3) Staff-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse: Encompasses all occurrences of staff-on-defendant/offender sexually abusive contact, staff-on-defendant/offender sexually abusive penetration, staff-on-defendant/offender indecent exposure, and staff-on-defendant/offender voyeurism. Staff solicitations of defendants/offenders to engage in sexual contact or penetration constitute attempted staff-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse.
Staff-on-defendant/offender sexually abusive contact: Non-penetrative touching (either directly or through the clothing) of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks by a staff member of a defendant/offender with or without the latter’s consent that is unrelated to official duties.
Staff-on-defendant/offender sexually abusive penetration: Penetration by a staff member of a defendant/offender with or without the latter’s consent. The sexual acts included are:
• Contact between the penis and the vagina or the anus;
• Contact between the mouth and the penis, vagina, or anus; or
• Penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person by a hand, finger, or
Staff-on-defendant/offender indecent exposure: The display by a staff member of his or her uncovered genitalia, buttocks, or breast in the presence of a defendant/offender.
Staff-on-defendant/offender voyeurism: An invasion of a defendant/offender’s privacy by staff for reasons unrelated to official duties or when otherwise not necessary for safety and security reasons, such as peering at a defendant/offender who is using a toilet in an area observable by staff, requiring a defendant/offender to expose his or her buttocks, genitals, or breasts, or taking images of all or part of a defendant/offender’s naked body or of a defendant/offender performing bodily functions and distributing or publishing them.
(4) Staff-on-defendant/offender sexual harassment: Repeated verbal comments or gestures of a sexual nature to a defendant/offender by a staff member. Such statements include demeaning references to gender, sexually suggestive or derogatory comments about body or clothing, or obscene language or gestures.
Staff: Employees and volunteers.
Strip search: A search that requires a person to remove or arrange some or all of his or her clothing so as to permit a visual inspection of the underclothing, breasts, buttocks, or genitalia of such person.
Substantiated allegation: An allegation that was investigated and the investigation determined that the alleged event occurred.
Supervised release: The process of monitoring defendants/offenders who have been placed on some type of release status following a sentence of incarceration.
Transgender: A term describing persons whose gender identity and/or expression do not conform to the gender roles assigned to them at birth.
Unfounded allegation: An allegation that was investigated and the investigation determined that the alleged event did not occur.
Unsubstantiated allegation: An allegation that was investigated and the investigation produced insufficient evidence to make a final determination as to whether or not the event occurred.
Victim advocate: An individual, who may or may not be affiliated with the agency, who provides victims with a range of services during the forensic exam and investigatory process. These services may include emotional support, crisis intervention, information and referrals, and advocacy to ensure those victims’ interests are represented, their wishes respected, and their rights upheld.
Video monitoring system: An integrated security system consisting of installed cameras monitored by employees, which augments and/or enhances the ability of employees to provide the sight and sound supervision necessary to prevent, detect, contain, and respond to incidents of sexual abuse.
Visual body cavity search: A visual inspection of a body cavity, defined as a rectal cavity or vagina, for the purpose of discovering whether contraband is concealed in it.
Volunteer: An individual who donates his or her time and effort on a recurring basis to enhance the activities and programs of the agency.