PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003)
Congress enacted the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) to address the problem of sexual abuse of persons in the custody of U. S. correctional agencies. PREA calls for Federal, State, and local corrections systems to have a zero-tolerance policy regarding prison rape (as defined by PREA) in prisons, jails, police lock-ups, and other confinement facilities. The Act applies to all public and private institutions that house adult or juvenile offenders and to community-based correctional agencies. The Act applies to multiple forms of sexual violence, including coercion by staff or other incarcerated people.
The Volusia County Division of Corrections (VCDC) has established a “Zero-Tolerance” for any incidence of inmate-on-inmate sexual assault, staff sexual misconduct and sexual harassment towards inmates. VCDC is committed to make every effort to provide a safe, humane, and secure environment for all inmates. The Division takes all reports of sexual abuse and assault seriously and actively investigates all allegations internally through Internal Affairs for administrative sanctions and externally through the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office (VCSO) for criminal sanctions. VCDC will investigate all allegations, whether reported by an inmate, a staff member or an outside third party. The victim will be provided a forensic examination, access to a victim advocate and follow-up counseling, if requested. All substantiated allegations will be submitted to the State Attorney’s Office for criminal prosecution.
The Division provides multiple ways for inmates to report abuse or potential victimization. Inmates who are currently, or in fear of, being sexually harassed, abused, or assaulted are encouraged to speak directly to a staff member, as this will allow for the quickest response. Inmates may also complete a written request form, file a written grievance (Note: you DO NOT have to use the standard formal grievance procedure to make a report). Inmates can also use the free confidential Internal Affairs PREA Reporting Hotline number (555) listed on the posters throughout all the holding cells and housing areas, or the free confidential Rape Crisis Hotline number (1-800-503-7621) listed on all the Sexual Assault Services posters throughout the holding cells and housing areas.
If you have information regarding abuse or believe that an inmate currently in VCDC custody has been subjected to abuse, please call the Internal Affairs PREA Reporting Hotline number at 386-254-1541. You may also use the Volusia Rape Crisis Center’s free confidential Sexual Assault Hotline @ 1-800-503-7621, or you may submit a complaint form in person to the Warden or PREA Coordinator at the jail. The Division will accept all third-party reports received through: (1) VCDC’s grievance system; (2) verbal reports (made in-person or via telephone); (3) written communication such as a letter or email; (4) contact with Division officials. When filing a report of sexual abuse or sexual harassment with the Division, some helpful information to include in the report is the date, time, and location of the incident and any involved parties. However, no one piece of this information is required to submit a report.
The Division will make every effort to maintain the confidentiality of those parties involved in any incident of sexual abuse or sexual assault. Information will be shared with investigators and other staff members who have a need to know.