Roanoke County Sheriff's Office PREA
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) of 2003
is a federal law established to support the elimination and prevention of sexual assault and sexual misconduct in the correctional system. PREA addresses both inmate-to-inmate sexual assault and staff-to-inmate sexual assault. The Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office fully supports the guidelines set forth in this law and has ZERO-TOLERANCE for any and all incidents of sexual assault and sexual misconduct, in accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003.
The Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office implements its “Zero-Tolerance” policies through a facility-wide systematic process that begins when inmates are initially admitted into the facility. When inmates enter our intake area they are met with a comprehensive educational process where their rights to be free from sexual abuse and harassment are explained in detail to them. From there, an assessment is conducted on every inmate to determine their individual risk of victimization or predation, using an objective measurement tool, based on specific risk factors. This tool is utilized to make an individualized determination of housing and program assignments for each inmate.
Throughout the facility, inmates are exposed to education concerning reporting options through the use of the inmate handbook and posted informational sheets. Video monitoring is utilized throughout the jail facility to enhance security and surveillance. The number and location of video cameras is reviewed no less frequently than every year by facility staff to assess if the level of monitoring is adequate to protect the inmate population from sexual abuse and to ensure the safety of staff and inmates.
When it comes to sexual activity within the jail facility, Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office policies and procedures are clear; ALL SEXUAL ACTIVITY IS PROHIBITED. Beyond those rules, forced or coerced sexual behavior is a criminal act that merits criminal prosecution. All substantiated incidents are reported to the local police and an investigation is conducted to ensure the perpetrator faces the full consequences of the law. The Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office has an agreement with the Roanoke County Police Department that the Roanoke County/Salem jail investigates all allegations of sexual abuse unless it is determined to be criminal. In the event it is criminal, the Roanoke County Police Department will conduct all criminal investigations. This assures that all incidents of sexual assault are thoroughly investigated and referred for prosecution to the Roanoke County Commonwealth’s Attorney.
In accordance with PREA, all investigations are assigned one of three possible determinations:
- Substantiated – an allegation which was investigated and determined to have occurred
- Unfounded – an allegation which was investigated and determined not to have occurred
- Unsubstantiated – an allegation which produced insufficient evidence to make a final determination of a substantiated or unfounded claim
Also see the PREA Definitions page
for more information.
The National Prison Rape Elimination Commission developed recommended national standards for reducing prison rape.
Pursuant to standard 115.88 of the Prison Rape Elimination Act, (PREA), the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office is required to:
Back to top of page.
- Aggregate incident based sexual abuse data annually from publicly and privately operated facilities.
- Use the data to assess and improve the effectiveness of its sexual abuse prevention, detection, and response policies, practices, and training by:
- Identifying problem areas;
- Tracking corrective action on an on-going basis; and
- Prepare an annual report of its findings
- Compare the current year’s data and corrective actions with those from the prior year’s and provide an assessment of the agency’s progress in addressing sexual abuse.
- Publish the annual report on the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office website of its findings and corrective actions for each facility, as well as the agency as a whole.
During the calendar year 2014, the PREA Coordinator for the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office collected the referrals for investigations from allegations of inmate-on-inmate and staff-on-inmate sexual abuse. This data is the basis for this section of the report.
In 2014, there were four allegations of sexual victimization that was investigated with the results of all being found Unfounded. These four allegations were divided into two allegations for sexual harassment and two allegations of sexual assault. Two allegations were made against deputies and the other two were against inmates. 14-01 revealed that an inmate did not like being strip searched upon being committed to jail; 14-02 revealed that the inmate filed it against the deputy that had listed the notification to keep this inmate and his brother separate while incarcerated; 14-03 revealed that the inmate wanted to be moved out of the cell with his current cellmate besides possibly drug seeking using PREA to his advantage; and 14-04 revealed that an inmate was using PREA in the hopes it would get him out of jail sooner.
If you feel that your family member or friend has been the victim of sexual abuse at the hands of another inmate or if you have information concerning suspected incidents of employee sexual misconduct involving Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office personnel, please utilize the Roanoke County Sheriff's Office Administrative Contact Form
Back to top of page.
Analysis of Findings
There were no noted or required corrective actions taken in 2014; however, cameras were added to both elevators. From the four investigations, it appears that the inmates are trying to use PREA to their advantage in obtaining or showing dislikes, retaliation, drug seeking, and possible release from jail.
The Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office has always, in good faith, made an effort to analyze its efforts and results. In addition, the Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office will continue to maintain a zero tolerance policy on sexual misconduct.
There were no known problem area found during the past year.
Initial training has taken place and will continue for all staff, volunteers, contractors, and inmates. The Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office maintains a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment and sexual misconduct.
Planned Efforts for 2015
Continued training efforts and continued use of a sexual risk screening tool during the booking/medical process, as well as continued compliance with PREA.
The Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office maintains a zero tolerance policy regarding sexual harassment and sexual assault and/or sexual abuse. The Sheriff’s Office will continue its efforts to comply with the Prison Rape Elimination Act to prevent in-custody sexual abuse and/or sexual assaults.
On November 3-4, 2014, The Roanoke County Sheriff’s Office was audited for its compliance with PREA standards and practice. This was a very thorough examination of our operations as the auditor reviewed policy and procedure, interviewed staff and inmates and evaluated the jail’s physical plant. At the conclusion of the audit, the jail received a 100% compliance with PREA standards. The auditor determined that out of 43 standards, 3 standards didn’t apply to our operations, 5 standards exceeded compliance, and the jail was in compliance with the remaining 35 standards. The auditor praised staff for their professionalism and knowledge of PREA standards. The auditor also commented that inmates felt safe in this facility and if a serious PREA incident did occur she was confident that it would be taken seriously and resolved professionally by staff.
Back to top of page.