The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission Releases National Standards Addressing Sexual Abuse in Detention

May 5, 2008: Today, the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission (NPREC) released draft standards aimed at putting an end to sexual abuse in adult prisons and jails, and in immigration detention centers. Stop Prisoner Rape (SPR) considers these standards a crucial step forward in the effort to make zero-tolerance toward rape and other forms of sexual violence a reality in U.S. corrections facilities.

The NPREC is a bipartisan commission created by the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003. Under the law, the NPREC is charged with developing binding standards for corrections systems to address sexual violence behind bars. To help develop the standards, the NPREC held public hearings throughout the country and convened several expert committees in Washington, DC. Representatives from SPR worked closely with the NPREC throughout this process, by serving on the expert committees and by enabling more than a dozen prisoner rape survivors to testify at the public hearings.

“The general public has until July 7, 2008 to suggest revisions to today’s draft standards. We hope that a broad range of individuals, including current and former inmates, will take that opportunity,” said Lovisa Stannow, Executive Director of SPR.

As part of its commitment to ensuring that the experiences of survivors of sexual abuse in detention are taken into account in the development of the national standards, SPR will gather a group of survivors in Washington, DC in late June, enabling them to express concerns with the draft standards, suggest improvements, and meet NPREC representatives.

The draft standards for adult prisons and jails are divided into four categories: leadership and accountability; prevention; detection and response; and monitoring. In addition to the supplemental standards for immigration detainees that were also published today, the NPREC is scheduled to release draft standards for juvenile facilities, community corrections, and lockup facilities in June 2008.

After receiving input from the public, the NPREC will finalize all of the standards and submit them to the Attorney General, who will have one year to ratify them. Once ratified, the standards will be binding immediately on federal facilities. States will have one year after ratification to comply with the standards, or they will lose a portion of their federal funds.

The draft standards and instructions for providing comments are available on the NPREC website at:


For more information, please contact Lovisa Stannow at 213-384-1400, ext. 103, or Melissa Rothstein at 202-580-6971, or visit Stop Prisoner Rape at