Enacted in 2003, with the final standards passing in 2012, the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) established a “zero-tolerance” policy for sexual assault and rape in correctional facilities. PREA’s guiding principle is that “rape is not part of the punishment” that should be imposed on people who are incarcerated.

The PREA Standards

The primary PREA standards that are relevant to victim advocates are 115.21 Evidence protocol and forensic medical examinations and 115.53 Inmate access to outside confidential services. Learn more about the PREA standards to better understand your role as advocates.

Resources and Webinars 

Understanding the dynamics of sexual abuse in detention and learning how to work with victims who are incarcerated will help advocates better respond to sexual assault in a correctional setting.

MOU Roadmap for Member Rape Crisis Centers

While advocates are not obligated to comply with PREA, correctional facilities will most likely try and work with rape crisis centers to meet the PREA compliance standard of providing incarcerated victims with access to outside sexual assault services. MCASA has developed a model memorandum of understanding (MOU) including sample MOU language and advice about potential issues for rape crisis centers to consider.

For more information on MCASA’s model MOU and roadmap, please email [email protected] or call 301-328-7023.

MCASA PREA Fact Sheets


For more information on PREA and working with incarcerated victims, MCASA encourages advocates to visit Just Detention International and the National PREA Resource Center.