RICHMOND — The Virginia Department of Corrections is the first state corrections department in the country to obtain full compliance of an adult prison facility under the Prison Rape Elimination Act standards for adult prisons and jails. Deerfield Correctional Center in Capron, Virginia, was certified in April to be 100% compliant with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), and since April five additional facilities have been certified.
PREA is designed to ensure correctional facilities establish policies and practices to protect those who are incarcerated from sexual violence by staff and other offenders.
“The Department of Corrections’ commitment to addressing and preventing sexual victimization in state correctional facilities is laudable,” said Secretary of Public Safety and Homeland Security Brian Moran. “The Department has our full support as they continue the hard work to ensure all state correctional facilities are certified 100% PREA compliant.”
Deerfield Correctional Center is a 1,080-bed male facility in southeast Virginia. Deerfield’s PREA audit was conducted March 5-7, 2014. Since then, Lunenburg Correctional Center, Nottoway Correctional Center, Deep Meadow Correctional Center, Rustburg Correctional Unit #9, and Caroline Correctional Unit #2 have all been certified to be 100% PREA compliant.
"Deerfield Warden James Beale and his staff are to be commended for this tremendous accomplishment,” said Virginia Department of Corrections (VADOC) Director Harold Clarke. "As a Department, we place a high priority on compliance with this important legislation designed to protect offenders. We were the first state correctional system in the country to begin audits, and we now have six compliant adult state facilities."
PREA was passed unanimously by the U.S. Congress and was signed into law on September 4, 2003. On June 20, 2012, the PREA national standards were published in the Federal Register and became binding on state confinement facilities 60 days later.
PREA was created to help eliminate sexual violence within corrections and provides for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison sexual abuse, sexual harassment and staff sexual misconduct. PREA mandates apply to all institutions and community residential facilities and hold all staff, contractors and volunteers responsible for the detection, prevention and reporting of known and suspected occurrences of sexual assault, harassment, and misconduct.
The PREA standards increase visibility of the aforementioned issues and increase accountability for government facilities, private facilities and every individual who works in corrections.
More information on the VADOC can be found at www.vadoc.virginia.gov.