The mission of the Raising the Bar for Justice and Safety Coalition is to advocate for full, effective implementation of, and monitoring of compliance with, the United States PREA Standards in jails, prisons, juvenile detention facilities, immigration detention centers, and community confinement throughout the country.
In a breakthrough in the effort to end sexual abuse in detention, the United States Congress and President George W. Bush enacted the 2003 Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Among other mandates, PREA required that uniform, national standards be created and published as regulations to increase the effectiveness of facility based efforts to end sexual abuse in detention. In order to pool resources and amplify advocates’ voices, Just Detention International, California Coalition Against Sexual Assault, the General Board of Church and Society of the United Methodist Church, the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Justice Fellowship, Peace Over Violence, and the National Association of Evangelicals founded the Raising the Bar for Justice and Safety Coalition.
On May 17, 2012, the Department of Justice published the first set of PREA Standards which apply to jails, prisons, juvenile justice facilities, and community confinement programs throughout the country. At the same time, the White House released a Presidential memo confirming that PREA applies to all “Federal confinement facilities” and ordering agencies which run confinement facilities (like the Department of Homeland Security, The Department of Health and Human Services, the Department of Defense, and the Bureau of Indian Affairs) to create and finalize their own PREA standards within one year.
The PREA Standards are an important tool for preventing and responding to sexual abuse in detention. However, because covered detention facilities are run by a patchwork of federal, state, and local governments (and private, for-profit companies under contract with these entities), implementation of the standards is a complex, evolving process. The Coalition brings together the expertise and networks of over fifty organizations to advocate for implementation in all covered facilities and to monitor the effectiveness of that implementation nationally.
This advocacy includes working with federal agencies on issues related to certification, auditing, and continued funding of needed resources and with system and facility administrators on barriers to full implementation. The Coalition also works with other advocates and concerned individuals who want to end sexual abuse in detention.
Prisoner Rape Survivors Celebrate: See Voices for Justice Video