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:

Community Corrections



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 defendant/offender 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, and defendants/offenders.

I. Recommended training topics

A. General education and awareness topics

1. An overview of PREA.

2. A description of the inalienable right of all defendants/offenders to be free from sexual abuse.

3. The role of community 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 which 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 defendants/offenders who knowingly make false allegations of staff-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse or staff-on-defendant/offender 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 defendants/offenders, consent, imbalances of power, and appropriate vs. inappropriate touching.

13. Information on adolescent emotional, physical, and sexual development, if the facility is responsible for the supervision of young defendants/offenders.

14. Strategies for promoting effective prevention and intervention of staff-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse and staff-on-defendant/offender sexual harassment.

15. Strategies for removing a victim or witness of sexual abuse from any public or semipublic area without arousing the suspicion of other defendants/offenders or staff members.

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

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 defendants/offenders 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. Relevant State or local mandatory child abuse reporting laws, and staff responsibility under such laws to report sexual abuse to a designated State or local services agency with the authority to conduct investigations into abuse against youth in confinement/supervision.

C. Medical and mental health care

1. The range of victims’ services available to defendants/offenders, including free medical and mental health care for injuries and/or trauma resulting from sexual abuse, and how defendants/offenders 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 defendants/offenders who engage in defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse or defendant/offender-on-defendant/offender sexual harassment.

3. The legal and disciplinary sanctions for staff who engage in actual or attempted staff-on-defendant/offender sexual abuse or staff-on-defendant/offender 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 defendants/offenders.

2. Train new staff members before they have contact with defendants/offenders.

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

4. Ensure that staff members, contractors, and defendants/offenders 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 defendants/offenders 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 defendants/offenders 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.