Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2006, $704,285)
The Protecting Inmates and Safeguarding Communities Discretionary Grant Program was created as a result of the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (the Act), Public Law 108-79. The goal of the Act is to eradicate sexual assaults in all of the correctional facilities in this country, be they federal, state, or local in nature. Nevertheless, the statutory focus for this grant program is state and local correctional facilities. This program is divided into two parts: (1) Protecting Inmates and (2) Safeguarding Communities. The Protecting Inmates part focuses on providing funding to state and local agencies for the costs of personnel, training, technical assistance, and data collection in the areas of prevention, investigation, prosecution, and treatment of victims of inmate on inmate sexual assault in a correctional facility. The Safeguarding Communities component of the program focuses on assisting the states in developing and implementing strategies when making release decisions for sexual aggressors without compromising public safety and addressing the needs of the victims after release.
The Minnesota Department of Corrections will collaborate with local jurisdictions and partner with non-profit organizations to improve strategies state-wide for the prevention of rape, nonconsensual sexual activity and other forms of sexual abuse in state prisons and local jails and holding facilities. The project strategy includes: 1) developing and delivering intensive training to over 2,000 staff in prisons and jails; 2) developing a train-the-trainer educational component for delivery to staff in prisons and local jails; 3) providing intensive training to juvenile offenders in the state prison system; 4) analyzing and refining risk assessment, housing assignments, and immediate and long-term victim responses; 5) analyzing facilities to identify critical incident-prone areas; and 6) monitoring and recording critical areas to prevent incidents and provide evidence for improved investigation and prosecution. Project objectives are: 1) to strengthen investigative strategies leading to the appropriate prosecution of rape incidents; 2) to improve rape-related programming including assessment of the level of potential risk for victimization, encouraging appropriate reporting of incidents, and immediate and long-term responses to reported victims; and 3) to improve prevention strategies state-wide in local jails and state prisons through awareness and training to strengthen a culture of a zero tolerance policy.