Issue Brief 14-17
April 23, 2014

The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (P.L. 108-79, PREA) requires governors to certify to the Department of Justice (DOJ) that all state prison facilities are in compliance with national standards to prevent, detect, and respond to prison rape by May 15, 2014. To avoid any penalty, a governor may either submit certification of compliance, or a letter of assurance that the state will use at least 5% of specified funds to achieve full compliance with PREA standards. States failing to submit either of these will lose 5% of fiscal year (FY) 2014 DOJ grant funding for prison purposes, including a portion of Byrne Justice Assistance Grants (JAG); the Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention Act’s Title II Formula Grants (Juvenile Justice); and the Services, Training, Officers, and Prosecutors (STOP) Violence Against Women Formula Grants as a penalty for noncompliance. Due to guidance delays from DOJ, it appears that nearly every state and territory will be unable to certify compliance.

UPDATE: DOJ issued a statement about its newly released PREA compliance report. Of the 56 jurisdictions that are subject to the standards, 48 are in compliance or have submitted assurances.