PREA: What Is It?
In September of 2003, the Prison Rape Elimination Act was signed into law and became the first federal law to address the sexual abuse and harassment of incarcerated individuals. The law mandates that states adopt a "Zero Tolerance" for all forms of offender sexual abuse and harassment and that each state make prevention of offender sexual abuse and harassment a top priority.
Zero Tolerance Policy
Every incarcerated individual has the right to be free from sexual abuse and harassment. In accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, the Missouri Department of Corrections has a zero-tolerance policy for all forms of offender sexual abuse and harassment. The department will investigate all allegations and actively seek prosecution when a perpetrator is identified.
Sexual abuse is defined as any type of unwanted sexual contact. When sexual contact is accomplished through fear, threat or implied threat, it is considered sexual abuse. Staff-on-Offender sexual misconduct will not be tolerated. It is against state law for a staff member, contractor or volunteer, to engage in any type of sexual behavior with an offender.
The department has taken various steps to stop sexual abuse and harassment, including increasing the number of security cameras, providing the offender population with multiple ways to report offender sexual abuse, training our staff to recognize the signs and symptoms of sexual abuse, and educating the offender population on how to avoid and report sexual abuse.
Reporting Offender Sexual Abuse or Harassment
The Missouri Department of Correction takes the safety of incarcerated offenders very seriously and ensures that everyone that lives or works within our facilities understands the signs and symptoms of offender sexual abuse and how to report allegations of abuse.
Offenders incarcerated in a Department of Corrections’ facility are encouraged to report offender sexual abuse immediately. Offenders are provided a number of ways to report abuse that includes anonymous reports via the PREA hotline, reporting to a trusted staff member, or writing to the Missouri Department of Public Safety. In addition, offenders may report abuse through the offender grievance process.
In accordance with Department’s Offender Sexual Abuse and Harassment Policy, staff having knowledge of offender-on-offender or staff-on-offender sexual abuse must report immediately to the shift supervisor while keeping the victim safe.
Should any staff member have a PREA allegation that he/she would like to report anonymously, they may call the Staff Tips Hotline at 573-526-7000 or 855-773-6391.
Friends and Family
Friends and family of offenders incarcerated with the Missouri Department of Corrections may report offender sexual abuse and harassment by:
Missouri Department of Corrections
1709 Industrial Drive
Jefferson City, MO 65109
When reporting offender sexual abuse or harassment, you will be asked to provide information that will assist in the investigation such as the offender’s name and offender’s number, the facility where the alleged incident occurred, time and date of the incident, as well as a brief summary of the allegation.