Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA)
The Department of Corrections (DOC) takes every report of sexual misconduct seriously and will thoroughly, promptly, and objectively investigate all allegations.
The DOC is committed to providing a safe and healthy environment for staff and offenders. DOC has zero tolerance for sexual misconduct of any kind and will impose discipline for such misconduct, up to and including dismissal for staff and serious infractions for offenders who victimize other offenders. Incidents of sexual misconduct will also be referred to law enforcement when applicable.
DOC’s policies regarding sexual misconduct apply to all offenders, both incarcerated and on community supervision. They also apply to employees, contractors, and volunteers. For more information regarding PREA, reporting, and assisting those who may be victims of sexual misconduct, please read the Zero Tolerance: Family and Friends PREA Brochure.
PREA Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ's)
- What is PREA?
- How do I report sexual misconduct?
- How do DOC offenders report sexual misconduct?
- What do I do if someone I know is being threatened or victimized?
- How does the investigations process work?
What is PREA?
The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is a federal law that prohibits sexual misconduct in correctional settings such as prisons, jails, lockups, juvenile facilities, and Immigration Services ⁄ ICE detention facilities. Sexual misconduct under this law includes:
- Offender–on–offender sexual assault and abuse
- Staff–on–offender sexual misconduct (sexual⁄inappropriate relationships with offenders)
- Offender–on–offender and staff–on–offender sexual harassment
How do I report sexual misconduct?
DOC investigates all allegations of offender–on–offender and staff–on–offender sexual misconduct. You can report sexual misconduct in multiple ways:
- If you have information regarding a DOC offender who has been the victim of sexual misconduct while under DOC custody or community supervision, please call: 1–800–586–9431.
Calls to this toll–free number in DOC Headquarters are recorded. Messages are checked Monday through Friday between 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. by staff of the HQ PREA Unit.
You don’t have to give your name but it is critical that you provide as many details as possible. This includes:
- The name(s) and locations of persons involved
- The name(s) or description of any witnesses to the incident
- DOC number (if an offender)
- A brief description of the incident(s)
- A brief description of where the event(s) occurred
- The date(s), time and place of occurrence(s)
- Names and contact information of others who might have additional information about the incident
- Your contact phone number and address (optional)
- You can report information regarding an offender or request additional information about PREA by:
- Writing a letter to:
PO Box 41131
Olympia, WA 98504–1131
- Sending an email to:
How do DOC offenders report sexual misconduct?
Offenders serving their sentence within a DOC facility are urged to report allegations of rape, sexual contact or staff sexual misconduct to the toll–free number (0–800–586–9431 from a prison facility or 1–800–586–9431 for offenders in work release or on community supervision). Offenders can also report by submitting a kite, a grievance, telling a trusted staff member, asking a family member or friend to call the hotline or by sending a written report to the PREA unit in DOC Headquarters via legal mail.
What do I do if someone I know is being threatened or victimized?
Please review the brochure Prison Rape Elimination Act Information for Friends and Families for additional information:
- The PREA flyer for women
- The PREA flyer for women (Spanish/Español)
- The PREA flyer for men
- The PREA flyer for men (Spanish/Español)
How does the investigations process work?
Washington State Department of Corrections (WA DOC) has zero tolerance towards any form of sexual abuse or harassment in accordance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). All allegations brought forward against offenders under the jurisdiction of WA DOC are thoroughly investigated.
WA DOC conducts administrative investigations into allegations of sexual misconduct, to include sexual harassment, promptly, thoroughly, and objectively. This includes all third-party and anonymous reports.
Staff who have received special training conduct these investigations as assigned by an Appointing Authority. Training includes interviewing sexual abuse victims, Miranda and Garrity warnings, evidence collection in confinement setting, and criteria required to substantiate a case for administrative action and prosecution referral. Investigators gather and preserve direct and circumstantial evidence, including any available electronic monitoring data, and interview alleged victims, suspected perpetrators, and witnesses. Appointing Authorities also review prior complaints and reports regarding alleged perpetrators and assess witness credibility prior to making decisions regarding these investigations. The credibility of an alleged victim, suspect, or witness is not be determined by the person’s status as offender or staff. Administrative investigations will also include an effort to determine whether alleged staff actions or failures to act contributed to the abuse.
WA DOC will not require an offender who alleges sexual abuse to submit to a polygraph examination or other truth-telling device.
Only the Appointing Authority can make investigation finding determinations after a thorough review of all physical and testimonial evidence included in the written investigation report.
When the quality of evidence appears to support criminal activity, the Department will conduct compelled interviews only after consulting with Law Enforcement.
All sexual abuse cases will be referred for investigation by a Washington State certified law enforcement officer as defined in WAC 139-05-210 – Basic Law Enforcement certificate of Equivalency and RCW 9.46.210 Enforcement – Commission as a Law Enforcement Agency.
Law Enforcement agencies will document their findings in a written report that contains a thorough description of physical, testimonial, and documentary evidence and attached copies of all documentary evidence where feasible.
Law enforcement agencies will refer all applicable investigations to the Prosecutor’s Office for review.
WA DOC is committed to the provision of safe and secure facilities for offenders and staff. The 2013 Annual PREA Report is reflective of our obligation as public servants to meet our vision of “Working Together for Safer Communities”.
Laws, Policies & Other Resources
Department of Corrections (DOC) Policies
- DOC Policy 490.800
- Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Definitions (Attachment 1)
- DOC 02–348 Fight⁄Assault Activity Review
- DOC 03–478 PREA Acknowledgement Prior to Training
- DOC 05–512 Work Release Orientation
- DOC 07–019 PREA Risk Assessment
- DOC 07–024 Conditions, Requirements, and Instructions
- DOC 21–563 PREA Vulnerability Assessment
- DOC Policy 490.820
- DOC Policy 490.850
- Aggravated Sexual Assault Checklist (Attachment 1)
- PREA Reporting Process (Attachment 2)
- PREA Response and Containment Checklist (Attachment 3)
- PREA Response Checklist — Medical Response (Attachment 4)
- PREA Response Checklist — Transportation Team (Attachment 5)
- PREA Response Plan Contents (Attachment 6)
- Prison Partners for Stand Alone Minimums and Work Releases (Attachment 7)
- Uniform Evidence Protocol (Attachment 8)
- DOC 02–348 Fight⁄Assault Activity Review
- DOC 13–035 Authorization for Disclosure of Health Information
- DOC 13–048 Refusal of Medical, Dental, Mental Health, and⁄or Surgical Treatment
- DOC 13–435 Primary Encounter Report
- DOC 13–420 Request for Mental Health Assessment
- DOC 16–357 Crime Scene Containment⁄Preservation⁄Processing checklist
- DOC 16–358 Crime Scene Security Log
- DOC Policy 490.860
- DOC 02–351 Investigation Report Template
- DOC 02–378 Investigative Finding Sheet
- DOC 02–382 PREA Data Collection
- DOC 02–383 Local PREA Investigation Review
- DOC 03–484 Interview Acknowledgement
- DOC 03–503 PREA Monthly Retaliation Monitoring Report
- DOC 03–505 Law Enforcement Referral of PREA Allegation
Revised Code of Washington (RCW)
- Custodial sexual misconduct in the first degree (RCW 9A.44.160)
- Custodial sexual misconduct in the second degree (RCW 9A.44.170)
- Sexual misconduct by state employees, contractors (RCW 72.09.225)