Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2022, $71,132)
The State of South Carolina proposes that the SC Department of Corrections (SCDC) and the South Carolina Department of Juvenile Justice (SCDJJ) will continue to work collaboratively in establishing zero tolerance cultures for sexual abuse across all of their facilities through the PREA Compliance and Supporting Incarcerated Victims of Sexual Assault project. South Carolina proposes that, within the 12-month project period, both agencies will continue to work to demonstrate, through this project, significant compliance with the PREA standards 115.21, Responsive Planning and 115.53, Inmate Access to Outside Confidential Support Services.
Through the use of proposed Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Reallocation Funds, SCDC and SCDJJ intend to continue the transformation of agency culture to one of zero tolerance for sexual abuse, regardless of where an inmate is housed. SCDC and SCDJJ are confident that, with these additional PREA funds, they will continue to demonstrate substantial progress toward the definitive goal of increasing the safety of inmates and staff in all of its facilities.
Since receiving the initial PREA award in 2014, SCDC has contracted with Sexual Trauma Services of the Midlands (STSM), an outside provider, to provide training to SCDC and SCDJJ staff, and to provide counseling to inmate victims of sexual trauma. Additionally, STSM is providing a 24-hour hotline for inmates who need to report abuse or need counselors. These services are another effort toward compliance with PREA standards.
The service provider is assisting both agencies in training staff to be victim sensitive when dealing with inmate victims of sexual abuse and/or harassment, and in watching for trigger signs that might be exemplified in victims and potential victims. Staff members are also being trained in proper communication skills with victims of sexual harassment and abuse.
The PREA Compliance and Supporting Incarcerated Victims of Sexual Assault project will continue to provide multi-facility, interdepartmental services to inmate victims. The project will address the specific requirement of two PREA standards that are crucial to inmate victims’ support during sexual assault crises.