Adult Prisons and Jails with Immigration Supplement Lockups Juvenile Facilities Community Corrections

National Prison Rape Elimination Commission logo


For The Prevention, Detection, Response, and Monitoring of
Sexual Abuse in:

Adult Prisons and Jails



The Commission directs all agency and facility heads to the U.S. Department of Justice’s national protocol for extensive information on the appropriate qualifications and responsibilities of forensic medical examiners.1 However an agency decides to adapt the national protocol, the Commission strongly recommends that the agency use the following description of responsibilities of the forensic medical examiner as a blueprint for the qualifications an agency should be considering when developing memoranda of understanding or entering into contracts with forensic medical examiners.

Forensic medical examiner responsibilities

1. Obtain forensic histories from victims.

2. Use sexual assault evidence collection kits that are standardized and meet or exceed minimum guidelines for contents.

3. Use the proper equipment and supplies to perform the exam (e.g., anoscope, colposcope with photographic capability, microscope, toluidine blue dye, in addition to standard exam room equipment and supplies).

4. Take initial and follow-up photographs of injuries, as appropriate, according to jurisdictional policy.

5. Maintain evidence integrity according to jurisdictional policies for drying, packaging, labeling, and sealing the evidence.

6. Maintain the chain of custody for all evidence collected.

7. Follow jurisdictional protocol for transferring the evidence in the custody of an authorized agent from the exam site to a crime laboratory or a secure storage area with the proper climate control.

8. Document all services provided, including recommendations for continued care regarding sexually transmitted infection examinations, testing, immunizations, post-exposure prophylaxis, and treatment.

9. Transfer copies of the inmate’s medical file back to the facility/agency, if the exam is conducted off-site.