Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA)

PREA Coordinator
Assistant Jail Administrator
Williams County Correctional Center
223 E Broadway, Suite 302
Williston, ND 58801

About

The Williams County Corrections Center (WCCC) is committed to implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Standards regarding the prevention, detection, and coordinated response to sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment in correctional facilities.

The Prison Rape Elimination Act, or PREA, was signed into law by President Bush on September 4, 2003. The final standards to implement PREA went in to effect on August 20, 2012. For additional information regarding the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA), refer to the National PREA Resource Center.

Filing a Report

If you have knowledge about an inmate who may have experienced sexual abuse, or sexual harassment at any time while incarcerated at WCCC, please make a third-party report. Simply write, call, or fax the WCCC Assistant Jail Administrator or PREA Coordinator using the contact information provided on this page. You may assist a WCCC inmate in filing a grievance regarding sexual abuse, and sexual harassment upon the inmate’s request. Third-party reports may also be made to the Williams County Sheriff’s Office at 701-577-7700.

Inmates are encouraged to verbally report to correction officers, medical or mental health staff, WCCC administration, probation officers, volunteers, attorneys, counselors, case managers, family and friends.

Inmates may also make a report by writing memos and may assist each other in filing grievances including emergency grievances. Emergency intercoms are also available in each inmate housing unit and cell.

A report regarding sexual abuse, or sexual harassment may be made at any time, while in custody, or after release; however, inmates may be held accountable for false reports.

Every reported incident of sexual abuse, or sexual harassment will be aggressively investigated either criminally by the Williams County Sheriff’s Office, or administratively by qualified, trained PREA investigators.

Accountability

Employees, volunteers, contractors, and inmates will all be held accountable to established PREA standards, and are provided training and information regarding their rights and responsibilities under this law.

All sexual and romantic activity between staff, volunteers, contractors, and inmates is prohibited, and against the law. Consensual sexual activity between inmates is prohibited, and is a serious facility violation.

No matter why an individual is incarcerated, sexual assault, sexual abuse, and sexual harassment are NEVER PART OF THE PENALTY! If an inmate is sexually abused while incarcerated at WCCC, they have a right to medical and mental health care related to the abuse at no cost to them.

WCCC maintains a ZERO TOLERANCE culture regarding sexual abuse, and sexual harassment. One instance is one too many!

Investigations

1. § 115.71 Criminal and Administrative Agency Investigations

a. When WCCC conducts its own investigations into allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment, it shall initiate a prompt, thorough and objective investigation for all allegations, including third-party and anonymous reports.

b. Where sexual abuse is alleged, WCCC shall utilize PREA investigators who have received Department of Justice approved sexual abuse investigation training.

c. PREA Investigators shall:

i. Gather and preserve direct and circumstantial evidence, including available physical and DNA evidence and available electronic monitoring data;
ii. Shall interview alleged victims, suspected perpetrators, and witnesses; and
iii. Shall review prior complaints and reports of sexual abuse involving the suspected perpetrator.

d. When the quality of evidence appears to support criminal prosecution, the WCCC investigator will stop the administrative investigation while the criminal investigation is being conducted, unless otherwise directed by the Administrator. WCCC shall conduct compelled interviews only after consulting with prosecutors as to whether compelled interviews may be an obstacle for subsequent criminal prosecution.

e. The credibility of an alleged victim, suspect, or witness shall be assessed on an individual basis and shall not be determined by the person’s status as inmate or staff. WCCC may not require an inmate who alleges sexual abuse to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth-telling device as a condition for proceeding with the investigation of such an allegation.

f. Administrative investigations:

i. Must include an effort to determine whether staff actions or failures to act contributed to the abuse; and
ii. Must be documented in written reports that include a description of the physical and testimonial evidence, the reasoning behind credibility assessments, and investigative facts and findings.

g. Criminal investigations must be documented in a written report that contains a thorough description of physical, testimonial, and documentary evidence and attaches copies of all documentary evidence where feasible.

h. Substantiated allegations of conduct that appears to be criminal shall be referred for prosecution.

i. WCCC shall retain all administrative and criminal written reports referenced for as long as the alleged abuser is incarcerated or employed by the agency, plus five years.

j. Investigations are completed regardless of employee status or inmate custody status; the departure of the alleged abuser or victim from the employment or control of the WCCC shall not provide a basis for terminating an investigation.

k. When the Williams County Sheriff’s Office investigates sexual abuse, WCCC PREA Investigators shall cooperate with outside investigators and shall remain informed about the progress of the investigation.

2. § 115.72 Evidentiary standard for administrative investigations

a. WCCC may not impose a standard higher than a preponderance (more than 50 percent) of the evidence in determining whether allegations of sexual abuse or sexual harassment are substantiated.

PREA Audit Reports

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