The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), which was signed into law in 2003,  is a federal law to govern correctional institutions to detect, prevent, reduce and punish sexual abuse and/or misconduct in confinement settings.

The Washington County Sheriff’s Office has a zero tolerance policy with regard to sexual abuse and sexual harassment within the Washington County Jail. The Sheriff’s Office will take appropriate measures to protect all inmates, and will promptly and thoroughly investigate all allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment (28 CFR 115.11).

In accordance with the PREA, the Sheriff's Office Jail is required to undergo a PREA audit every 3 years. A copy of the final reports are posted on this page once the audit is completed.

  1. About PREA
  2. How to Report Sexual Abuse and Harassment in Jail
  3. PREA Audit and Annual Reports

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was passed in 2003 with unanimous support from both parties in Congress. 


The purpose of PREA is to "provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape" (Prison Rape Elimination Act, 2003). 

PREA created a mandate for significant research from the Bureau of Justice Statistics and through the National Institute of Justice. 

In addition, PREA funding through the Bureau of Justice Assistance and the National Institute of Corrections supported major efforts on many state correctional, juvenile detention, community corrections, and jail systems.

Through PREA, the National Prison Rape Commission was created. The commission was charged with developing draft standards for the elimination of prison rape. Those standards were published in 2009 and were turned over to the Department of Justice for review and passage as a final rule. The final rule became effective August 20, 2012.

In 2010, the Bureau of Justice Assistance funded the National PREA Resource Center to continue to provide federally funded training and technical assistance to states and local governments. Also, the center serves as a single stop resource for leading research and tools for those in the field working to come into compliance with the federal standards.

Where does PREA apply?

PREA applies to a wide range of detention facilities, including: county jails, state prison facilities, juvenile detention facilities, community correction facilities, federal prisons, immigration detention centers, and police lockups.

Additional Resources

To learn more about PREA, visit the PREA Resource Center.

Other resources, include: