Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) (PDF), a federal law enacted in 2003, was created to eliminate sexual abuse in confinement. In addition to providing federal funding for research, programs, training, and technical assistance to address the issue, the legislation mandated the development of national standards. The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission developed recommended national standards for reducing prison rape.
Zero Tolerance Policy
The Western Virginia Regional Jail fully supports the guidelines set forth in this law and has Zero-Tolerance for any and all incidents of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.
In order to promote a safe and humane setting for the confinement of pre-trial detainees as well as convicted offenders, the Western Virginia Regional Jail maintains a “zero tolerance policy” regarding the sexual abuse of inmates, staff-on-inmate sexual misconduct, and inmate-on-inmate sexual misconduct. The WVRJ maintains a program of prevention, detection, response, investigation and tracking. Sexual assault among inmates and staff sexual misconduct towards inmates is strictly prohibited and subject to administrative and criminal disciplinary sanctions. All allegations, regardless of source will be investigated. Staff-on-inmate sexual misconduct will be governed by the Code of Virginia §18.2-64.2, which includes contract and volunteer personnel. The appropriate sections of the Code of Virginia will govern inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse based upon the advice of the Commonwealth’s Attorney and the investigating police authority.
Sexual misconduct is illegal and will not be tolerated in any manner at the Western Virginia Regional Jail. Sexual misconduct includes: inmate-on-inmate sexual abuse, assault, or consensual sexual activity, and staff-on-inmate sexual abuse, assault or consensual sexual activity. Sexual misconduct also includes any solicitation of sexual activity. All allegations are fully investigated and substantiated incidents are reported to the local police for further investigation and referral for prosecution if warranted.
Sexual abuse can be reported to any staff member at any time, either verbally or in writing. The staff will take actions to protect inmates from the assailant and refer them to medical for further treatment and counseling.
Resources for Reporting & Counseling
The following resources are available for reporting and/or counseling for victims of sexual abuse:
- Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN): 800-656-4673
- Sexual Assault Response and Awareness (SARA): 540-981-9352
- Virginia Sexual and Domestic Violence Action Alliance: 800-838-8238
If you wish to report information that an inmate at the Western Virginia Regional Jail has been the victim of sexual abuse by another inmate, or have information about employee sexual misconduct with regard to an inmate, please contact the following, either in writing or by phone:
5885 W River Road
Salem, VA 24153
Investigations are given one of three designations:
- Substantiated – An allegation investigated and determined to have occurred
- Unfounded - An allegation investigated and determined not to have occurred
- Unsubstantiated - An allegation that was investigated and evidence was insufficient to make a determination of substantiated or unfounded