Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)


Excerpt from Corrections Operating Procedures 934.00 Sexual Offenders and Victims

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was established in 2003 by then President George Bush, which mandates the Department of Justice to establish standards addressing sexual assault/harassment in all correctional facilities.

In compliance with these standards, Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office Department of Corrections is committed to emphasizing zero tolerance of the sexual abuse/assault/harassment of inmates, and sexual acts involving inmates regardless of consensual status, either by staff or other prisoners. All reports of sexual abuse are reported promptly and investigated thoroughly. When crimes are committed within correctional facilities, the perpetrator and victim of, and witnesses to these crimes are identified, and evidence of these crimes is collected and preserved. Sexual conduct between staff members, volunteers or contractors and inmates, regardless of consensual status, is strictly prohibited and subject to administrative and/or criminal sanctions.

This agency is compliant with all Department of Justice Standards For Prisons and Jails and strives to provide an environment conducive to sexual safety for incarcerated individuals.

Sexual abuse of an inmate, resident, or detainee by another inmate, staff member, volunteer or contractor includes any nonconsensual, coerced acts by implied threats of violence or inability to refuse.  This also includes any contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, or anus, penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person, however slight, by a hand, finger, or object, or other instrument, or any other intentional contact, either directly or through the clothing, of or with the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or the buttocks (unrelated to official duties) or where the staff member, contractor, or volunteer has the intent to abuse, arouse, or gratify sexual desire. Voyeurism by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer is an invasion of privacy of an inmate by staff for reasons unrelated to official duties.

Sexual Harassment includes repeated and unwelcome verbal comments or gestures, sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal comments, gestures, or actions of a derogatory or offensive sexual nature by another inmate, staff member, contractor or volunteer to an inmate.

PREA requires annual reports to be filed with the Department Of Justice of all allegations of sexual assault/harassment reported in the facility(s) to be made public. These incidents must be classified under three categories:

Substantiated allegation – an allegation that was investigated and was found to have occurred.

Unsubstantiated allegation – an allegation that was investigated, and the investigation produced insufficient evidence to make a final determination as to whether the event actually occurred.

Unfounded allegation – an allegation that was investigated and that investigation determined the event did not occur.

Corrective Action:

PREA standards require an incident review for each substantiated and unsubstantiated reported occurrence. A team convenes within thirty days of the final findings to review the case and determine if any changes should be discussed based on the investigation findings.

Please note: Since 2014, PBSO, in agreement with Palm Beach County Victims Services provided a direct hotline to their rape crisis line. Large posters and other educational materials were distributed to inmates on sexual safety and reporting methods, as well as instructions for the use of this line. As all calls are logged, we have noticed a large amount of calls to the hotline which greatly increased our statistics of reported incidences. Some of these calls were of a content that did not involve any reporting of sexual assaults, but every reported alleged incident was investigated to ensure inmate safety.

Updated 7.28.16

Zero Tolerance

The Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance of all sexual assault/abuse/harassment.

Report all sexual assault/abuse/harassment:

  • To any staff member
  • To the 24 hour Rape Crisis Hotline


  • Or you may call (561) 688-3000 at PBSO, and  ask to speak to a Corrections Watch Commander