Bergen County Sheriff’s Office PREA Annual Report 2020

What is PREA

PREA stands for the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which was signed into law by President Bush on Sept. 4, 2003.
The final regulatory standards to implement PREA went into effect on August 20, 2012.

What is the purpose of PREA?

PREA is intended to address the detection, prevention, reduction and prosecution of sexual harassment and sexual assault in all correctional facilities in the country.

To what facilities does PREA apply?

PREA applies to all confinement facilities in the state. This includes all prisons, jails, police lock-ups, juvenile facilities, immigration detention centers, court holding facilities, and community corrections facilities (home monitoring, probation, parole, halfway houses).

What should someone do if they suspect a sexual assault has occurred in a correctional facility?

Anyone who suspects or has knowledge of any sexual harassment, sexual assault or sexual misconduct in any juvenile or adult detention or correctional facility should report it to a staff member, volunteer, supervisor, administrator or human resources official. Inmates may file grievances, tell their case manager or unit manager, or talk with a correctional officer or any staff member with whom they feel comfortable and trust. Anyone who receives a report of sexual abuse in any confinement setting must send it up
the chain of command for investigation and disposition.

Reporting of Sexual Assault
Every report that is made is taken seriously and will be investigated fully. The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office has a ZERO tolerance policy for any sexual assaults made or attempted by any inmate or staff member in the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office. Reports can be made anonymously by friends or family members at any time by contacting the Sheriff’s Office at 201-646-2222.
A. The BCSO shall conduct all investigations of alleged sexual abuse or sexual harassment; 1. Unless the allegation involves a staff member, in which case the investigation is turned over to the Bergen County Prosecutor’s Office. 2. The BCSO will document all such referrals.

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is a federal law that was signed in 2003. The law is designed to support the elimination, reduction, and prevention of sexual abuse and sexual harassment within correctional facilities. PREA develops and implements national standards for the detection, prevention, reduction, and punishment of any sexually based incidents.
The Bergen County Sheriff’s Office is in full compliance with all the standards of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. An administrative sergeant is assigned as the PREA coordinator, whose responsibilities include training staff and inmates in regards to reporting and documenting incidents, forwarding all allegations to the Office of Professional Standards for investigation, as well as ensuring compliance with PREA standards and department procedures.
All PREA allegations are thoroughly investigated by the Office of Professional Standards. An incident review is conducted after each incident by an administrative captain, the investigating detective, a line supervisor, and a mental health clinician to determine what if any, policy and security improvements can be made to prevent future incidents.
Only the aggregate numbers will be reported annually on the website. There will be no reporting by institution, victim’s name, or perpetrator’s name to ensure the integrity of the process, protect the security of the institution, and encourage the reporting of all PREA allegations in the future.

During the calendar year of 2020, there were a total of six (6) PREA allegations and during the calendar year of 2019, there were a total of seven (7) PREA allegations made. The total of substantiated cases in the calendar year of 2020 and 2019 were three (3).

The Department has implemented PREA and adopted rules and regulations for the deterrence, protection, and reporting of prison rapes. These rules include but are not limited to the immediate separation of victim and perpetrator through the use of administrative segregation or suspension pending investigation for employees and if substantiated, the filing of criminal charges against the perpetrator whether staff or offender. All staff in the Bergen County Sheriff’s Office receives annual training on all policy and procedures regarding PREA and is immediately notified of any updates or changes throughout the year. Further specialized training has been made mandatory for the Prison Rape Elimination Act, BCSO Staff, PREA Investigators, and Medical/Mental Health to understand their role of responding to prison rape.

Staff-On-Offender Allegations January 1 – December 31, 2020 PREA
Incident Categories
Total Staff/Offender Allegations of Sexual Misconduct – 2
Substantiated – 0
Unsubstantiated – 1
Unfounded – 1
Total Staff/Offender Allegations of Sexual Harassment- 2
Substantiated – 0
Unsubstantiated – 2
Investigation Ongoing – 0
Offender-On-Offender Allegations January 1 – December 31, 2020
PREA Incident Categories
Total Offender/Offender Allegations of Sexual Misconduct -2
Substantiated – 1
Unsubstantiated – 1
Total Offender/Offender Allegations of Sexual Harassment – 0