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The New York State Collaboration to Establish Zero Tolerance Cultures for Sexual Assault in Juvenile Detention Facilities

Award Information

Award #
Awardee County
Congressional District
Funding First Awarded
Total funding (to date)

Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2012, $492,309)

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Program provides funding to state governments for demonstration projects within local adult and juvenile confinement settings, including jails and juvenile detention facilities, law enforcement lockups and other temporary holding facilities, and tribal detention facilities. Funding is awarded to states that successfully communicate a comprehensive approach to the prevention, detection, and response to the incidence of sexual abuse and clearly prioritize gaps which are as of yet unaddressed, either programmatically or through changes in policy and procedures, as it relates to implementation of the PREA standards. The goal of this program is to assist local adult and juvenile facilities in implementing prevention, identification, and response mechanisms that will reduce the incidence of sexual abuse in confinement facilities.

Through a partnership between the New York State Office of Children and Family Services (OCFS) and the New York City Administration for Childrens' Services (ACS), the grant project will develop a comprehensive approach to preventing, identifying, and responding to the sexual abuse of children in New York City's two 124-bed juvenile detention facilities: the Horizon Juvenile Center located in the Bronx and the Crossroads Juvenile Center located in Brooklyn. Because OCFS licenses and monitors all New York State juvenile detention facilities, OCFS representatives will participate in activities to develop policies, training, and other materials in New York City's juvenile detention facilities and then use what they have learned to promote compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) in the six other local juvenile detention facilities in New York State.

To complete the project, OCFS and ACS will partner with two national organizations with extensive experience addressing sexual misconduct in detention: Just Detention International (JDI) and the Center for Children's Law and Policy (CCLP). ACS and OCFS will also engage the Vera Institute of Justice to conduct an independent assessment of the project. The project will provide a model for PREA implementation in New York State and nationally, and will demonstrate how state and local agencies can work together to pilot and disseminate successful PREA implementation strategies.

ACS seeks on the ground technical assistance to develop approaches sculpted to the needs of its facilities and youth and incorporating the trauma-informed care model the agency is working toward. As part of this project, ACS would like to enhance its ability to gather information on the extent of sexual misconduct in its juvenile detention facilities. Through this project, ACS will engage in the following activities over two years involving OCFS: (1) identify gaps in policies and needs for new policies to comply with PREA and best practice; (2) develop new and modified policies, drawing upon the models available through the PREA Resource Center but working closely with ACS staff from a variety of levels and disciplines to sculpt agency-specific approaches; (3) train direct care staff and supervisors based on the new policies and information related to PREA's mandate; (4) create and implement an effective youth education program; (5) develop effective reporting and communication mechanisms for family members and caregivers; (6) involve community-based organizations serving sexual assault victims in support of any victims of sexual misconduct in detention; and (7) build data capacity to collect the most useful information on sexual victimization in detention facilities and engaging the Vera Institute of Justice in an independent assessment. CA/NCF

Date Created: August 21, 2012