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 National Institute of Corrections (NIC) has developed a number of Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) training resources. The Commission directs all agency and facility heads to NIC’s Web site ( to learn more about existing resources and opportunities for training. However an agency or facility decides to deliver training, the Commission strongly recommends that the following topics be included for employee training. Some may also be appropriate for volunteer and inmate training.

Following the list of topics, the Commission has made some procedural recommendations for ensuring that agency and facility heads deliver the most effective sexual abuse and PREA training to employees, volunteers, contractors, and inmates.

I. Recommended training topics

A. General education and awareness topics

1. An overview of PREA.

2. A description of the inalienable right of all inmates to be free from sexual abuse.

3. The role of corrections officials to protect and enforce the human right to be free from sexual abuse.

4. Definitions and examples of prohibited and/or illegal behaviors and language that are considered sexual abuse.

5. Examples of conduct, circumstances, and “red flags” that may be precursors to sexual abuse or that suggest sexual abuse is occurring.

6. The agency’s anti-retaliation policy.

7. Common reactions by victims of sexual abuse.

8. The agency’s liability for sexual abuse of persons in custody (criminal, civil, and administrative).

9. A discussion of how sexual abuse is used to gain power and control in confinement settings.

10. The agency’s policy regarding inmates who knowingly make false allegations of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse or staff-on-inmate sexual harassment.

11. Common myths and perceptions of sexual intimidation and abuse in confinement settings.

12. Professional boundary setting, including issues related to personal associations with inmates, consent, and imbalances of power.

13. Strategies for promoting effective prevention and intervention of staff-on-inmate sexual abuse and staff-on-inmate sexual harassment.

14. Strategies for removing a victim or witness of sexual abuse from any public or semipublic area without arousing the suspicion of other inmates or staff members.

15. Strategies for protecting the safety of vulnerable populations, including but not limited to lesbian, gay, bisexual, and gender-nonconforming inmates (including transgender and intersex); deaf, speech impaired, or visually impaired inmates; developmentally disabled inmates; inmates with limited English proficiency; mentally ill inmates; inmates with past histories of sexual abuse; inmates with personality disorders; and young inmates.

B. Sexual abuse reporting duties

1. Staff members’ duty to report sexual abuse and their liability if they fail to report.

2. The process staff members should use to report sexual abuse.

3. The process that inmates should use to report sexual abuse.

4. Medical and mental health practitioners’ reporting duties and the process they should use to report sexual abuse.

5. Facility head’s duty to report to a designated State or local services agency any allegations involving a victim under the age of 18 under mandatory child abuse reporting laws.

C. Medical and mental health care

1. The range of victims’ services available to inmates, including free medical and mental health care for injuries and/or trauma resulting from sexual abuse, and how inmates gain access to those services.

2. Rules governing forensic medical exams.

3. How to detect sexual abuse during medical and mental health exams.

D. Investigations and discipline

1. The investigative process for allegations of sexual abuse, including the importance of preserving evidence.

2. The legal and disciplinary sanctions for inmates who engage in inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse or inmate-on-inmate sexual harassment.

3. The legal and disciplinary sanctions for staff who engage in actual or attempted staff-on-inmate sexual abuse or staff-on-inmate sexual harassment.

4. Victims’ rights based on relevant State or Federal law.

5. The rights of a staff member who is the subject of an investigation based on relevant Federal or State law or, if applicable, under collective bargaining agreements.

II. Recommended procedures for delivering training

A. General guidance

1. Train existing staff prior to training inmates.

2. Train new staff members before they have contact with inmates.

3. Prohibit staff members from working with inmates until they can demonstrate knowledge of the agency’s sexual abuse policies and procedures.

4. Ensure that staff members, contractors, and inmates have access to copies of the agency’s
sexual abuse policies.

5. Use multiple mechanisms for presenting the information, including lectures, dialogues, role-play/scenario-based training, and other interactive techniques.

6. Ensure training materials are up to date by reviewing them at least annually and making revisions, if necessary, to address changes in laws, policies, or protocols.

7. Provide refresher training to staff, contractors, and inmates following any changes to law or policy.

8. Provide annual continuing education on sexual abuse that includes a review of the agency’s sexual abuse data from the previous year.

B. Testing and evaluation

1. Test staff members following training.

2. Ask staff, contractors, and inmates to provide feedback on training, including suggestions for improving training tools and materials.

3. Evaluate staff members who conduct training at least annually to ensure that they are qualified and able to provide training effectively.