Juvenile Justice Facilities : Protecting The Health And Wellness Of Our Youngest Inmates

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PREA Mandates in Juvenile Justice Facilities: Protecting the Health and Wellness of our Youngest Inmates

Jennifer Hulvat
Kaplan University, J.D. Full Time Faculty
March, 2015

The month of April brings a change of seasons around the country, and a new focus issue to the table; Health and Wellness. In the area of Juvenile Corrections, we might take this opportunity to revisit a topic I wrote about in February, “Incarcerated Youth at Risk: Is Your Facility Doing Enough to Avoid Liability?” Ultimately, a correctional facility has an ongoing obligation to safeguard the health and wellbeing of its minor inmates. In February, I asked whether your institution was doing enough to avoid liability in this area. This month, with that
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Passed in 2003, the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was created to combat sexual violence in correctional institutions, including jails, prisons, lockups, and in juvenile institutions. The application of this legislation to juvenile correctional institutions is particularly critical, as the youngest of our inmates often find themselves powerless to defend against sexual victimization while in custody. The Department of Justice, per the PREA mandates, issued standards for implementation on June 20, 2012, outlining the steps that facilities must take to address sexual misconduct prevention, detection, and response. Those standards pertain to juvenile facilities, adult prisons and jails, lockups, and community confinement facilities. The final standards are too lengthy to include here, but can be reviewed at: In 2013, the Bureau of Justice Statistics, BJS, published a special report entitled “Sexual Victimization in Juvenile Facilities Reported by Youth, 2012”. It was the result of surveys of 8,707 youth in facilities owned or operated by a state juvenile correctional authority and adjudicated youth held under state contract in locally or privately- operated juvenile facilities. The data collected reaffirms the need for a structured response to sexual assault upon juveniles in these facilities. Specifically, BJS reported the following (estimated through weighted sampling): 9.5% of
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