Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $315,456)
The State of Texas has taken significant steps to eliminate prison rape and will continue to do so. In accordance with 34 U.S.C. § 30307(e)(2)(A)(ii), The Governor’s Office provided an assurance to the Department of Justice (DOJ) in October 2021 that the State of Texas will make strides to adopt and achieve full compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) national standard described in 28 C.F.R. §115.313(c) and will utilize the PREA Reallocation Funds for that purpose.
During PREA Audit Cycle 3, the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD) owned and operated 11 residential facilities for juvenile offenders, which is down from the 13 facilities as reflected in Audit Cycle 2 due to the closure of two halfway houses. TJJD did not conduct any PREA audits during Cycle 3, Year 1, as a result of the impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic. All four of the facilities scheduled to be audited in Year 1 were rescheduled for Year 2 of Cycle 3.
During PREA Audit Cycle 3, Year 2, PREA audits were conducted for five of the 11 residential facilities for juvenile offenders owned and operated by the Texas Juvenile Justice Department (TJJD). Three of these facilities were determined to be fully compliant, one is still pending PREA compliance determinations and one TJJD facility was determined not fully compliant with PREA due to their inability to comply with the PREA-mandated staff-to-youth ratio of 1:8 during waking hours as outlined in 28 C.F.R. §115.313(c). The COVID-19 pandemic has further exacerbated staffing challenges within TJJD facilities. The other six juvenile residential facilities overseen by TJJD were found fully compliant during Audit Cycle 2 and two of those facilities were audited again during Cycle 3, Year 2. Of these two facilities, one was re-certified as fully PREA compliant and the other is still pending a PREA compliance determination.
TJJD intends to adopt and achieve full compliance with all PREA standards. In pursuit of this, TJJD will continue to include requests in upcoming Legislative Appropriation Requests for additional staff and support to achieve the required 1:8 staff-to-youth ratio. Texas intends to utilize the FY2022 PREA award to strengthen three other PREA standards within juvenile facilities in order to maintain continued compliance, specifically 28 CFR §115.371, §115.331, and §115.386.