Justice Department Awards More Than $110 Million to Support Currently and Formerly Incarcerated Individuals
This December 22, 2021, Department of Justice press release highlights fiscal year 2021 awards made through various Bureau of Justice Assistance programs, including the Implementing the PREA Standards, Protecting Inmates, and Safeguarding Communities Program.
PREA Standards in Focus Now Available
Developed with funding support from BJA, PREA Standards in Focus is a new feature designed to provide a quick synopsis of a Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standard, the intent and purpose, implementation tips, challenges, and audit issues related to the standard to assist in further awareness and education.
PREA Auditor Handbook
The PREA Management Office within the Bureau of Justice Assistance is pleased to announce the release of the PREA Auditor Handbook, a critical new resource for PREA auditors and the field.
More than $376 Million in Awards to Promote Public Safety Announced
The Office of Justice Programs has awarded more than $376 million in grant funding to enhance state, local and tribal law enforcement operations and reinforce public safety efforts in jurisdictions across the United States. Several BJA programs are included in the announcement, including more than $252 million in Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program funding awards, $40 million in Sexual Assault Kit Initiative funding awards, and more.
PREA Amendment Enacted Under Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016
Signed into law on December 16, 2016, the PREA amendment under the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016 includes a number of important changes to the PREA statute:
- Exempts grant programs administered by the Office on Violence Against Women.
- Requires governors to provide certain compliance information with their annual certification or assurance submission to DOJ.
- Requires that the Attorney General make the final PREA audit reports for confinement facilities under the operational control of states' and territories' executive branch available on a website, and to update this website annually.
- Upon request by the Attorney General, PREA auditor candidates and certified auditors seeking recertification are required to submit their fingerprints to the FBI for a criminal history records check.
- Provides states submitting an assurance with two options:
- Use not less than 5% of impacted DOJ grant funds to work towards and achieve full compliance with the PREA Standards in future years; or
- Request that the Attorney General hold these funds in abeyance.
- Sunsets the abeyance option three years following the date of enactment and requires the following for the final disposition of funds held in abeyance:
- States that select the abeyance option that are able to submit a certification within three years following enactment of the law will be able to reclaim the balance of funds held in abeyance to be used for the original purpose(s) of the impacted DOJ grant program(s).
- States that select the abeyance option that are unable to submit a certification in the 3-year period following enactment of the law that have audited at least 2/3 of facilities under the operational control of the executive branch will have the option to submit an assurance and receive the funds held in abeyance to be used solely for PREA compliance purposes.
- States that select the abeyance option and, within the 3-year period following enactment of the JFARA, are unable to certify full compliance or provide an assurance that at least 2/3 of applicable facilities have been audited will relinquish the balance held in abeyance for redistribution to other states to be used for the original purpose(s) of the impacted DOJ grant program(s).
- Sunsets the assurance option six years following the date of enactment.
- For two years following the assurance sunset, governors who have audited at least 90% of facilities covered by the certification/assurance may request that the Attorney General allow submission of an emergency assurance.
Additional information regarding the key provisions in the PREA amendment and DOJ’s implementation of the new requirements can be found here.