Skip to Content

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Annual Report 2019

Background

In 2003, the Federal Prison Elimination Act passed, and following the development of Juvenile Facility Standards in June of 2009, the act became effective on August 20, 2012. The act is intended to “…provide for the analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in federal, state and local institutions…” (Prison Rape elimination Act, 2003).

PREA Standards

The Sonoma County Probation Department is dedicated to maintain a culture that promotes and supports the rights of detained youth to be free of sexual abuse and/or sexual misconduct. The Department has a policy mandating a zero tolerance for any form of sexual activity between staff, contractors, or volunteers with residents, or any sexual activity between residents regardless of consent status. Disciplinary actions for violations of the Department policies related to sexual misconduct will be commensurate with the nature and circumstances of the acts committed, ranging from administrative sanctions to criminal prosecution.

The Sonoma County Probation Department has designated the Juvenile Division’s Deputy Chief as the PREA Coordinator, and the Juvenile Hall and Probation Camp Directors as PREA Compliance Managers for their respective facilities. These managers work together to coordinate efforts to comply with PREA standards and show that the standards are integrated and followed in both detention facilities. [Hyperlink Standards]
The Sonoma County Probation Department has a Staffing Plan that complies with the mandated staffing ratios specified by the California Board of State Community Corrections. The plan includes enhanced use of video monitoring to protect residents against sexual abuse. The Staffing Plan is reviewed annually to assess whether plan modifications including added technology and/or policy changes are necessary to enhance prevention of sexual abuse in the detention facilities. During this review, PREA Compliance Managers review staffing patterns, assess reports of misconduct and evaluate the effectiveness of the facility’s video monitoring system. The 2019 PREA Staffing Plan review confirmed the compliance of Supervisors and Administrators making unannounced rounds at both facilities.

In 2018, following the annual Security Review, both facilities made significant enhancements to their video monitoring systems. The Juvenile Hall upgraded cameras on all housing units and added an additional camera on each unit to eliminate blind spots and capture the entire living area. In addition, cameras were added to the dormitory unit that houses the Boys and Girls Club, where youth engage in a variety of activities in multiple rooms. At Probation Camp, the DVR was replaced to comply with State video record preservation requirements, and new cameras were added to enhance video monitoring in areas of frequent use, including the television room, the kitchen, the green house, and down the main corridor.

Also in 2018, several policies were reviewed and modified to address opposite gender staff notifications, improve intake and classification procedures for transgender youth, and enhance the Department PREA policy.

Training & Education

During the intake process at the Juvenile Hall, youth are assessed for risk of sexual victimization and/or for potential abuse of others. In 2019, this assessment was modified to include gender nonconforming appearance or manner to better identify potentially vulnerable youth. Juvenile Correctional Counselors use this information, along with the resident’s history of delinquency, and past victimization, to determine the best possible housing assignment within the facility.  When booked into the Hall, and prior to their transfer to a housing unit, residents are informed of the facility’s zero tolerance of sexual misconduct and their rights to be free of sexual abuse.  Residents are educated about the several ways to report an allegation of sexual misconduct/abuse, which can be communicated to staff, through a third party, directly to law enforcement, or to the Sonoma County Rape Crisis line. In 2017, PREA pamphlets, written in both English and Spanish, were developed for both detention facilitates, and clarify the resident’s right to be free from sexual abuse. The pamphlets also provide guidance in how to avoid being a victim, and the mechanisms to report abuse.    

Upon arrival at the Probation Camp, local residents are re-educated regarding the zero tolerance policy of sexual misconduct, and youth coming from contract counties are educated about the policy, their right to be free of sexual abuse, and the ways to report an allegation of sexual abuse.

All detention staff receive an initial PREA training during New Employee Orientation and a comprehensive PREA training within one year of employment.  The PREA training covers response protocols, prevention and detention strategies, and guidance on maintaining respectful and professional relationships.  In 2019, all institutional staff received comprehensive PREA training based on a modified version of the curriculum available from the National PREA Resource Center.  In addition, all juvenile probation staff who enter the detention facilities were provided training in detection, responding and reporting of PREA violations, and relevant department policies.

Non-sworn staff from partner agencies who work in Sonoma County detention facilities, including teachers from Sonoma County Office of Education, employees of Sonoma County Health Services, contract service providers and volunteers are provided training on the Department’s zero tolerance policy for sexual abuse, the requirement for mandatory reporting of suspicion or allegation of sexual abuse, and resident and staff behaviors often associated with sexual abuse.  Since 2017, all volunteers and contractors entering the facilities have been provided PREA training in compliance with 28 CFR 332.  The department conducts volunteer/contractor twice per year to ensure those working with our youth understand the zero tolerance policy, and their obligations under PREA. 

Response Planning

In order to ensure uniform investigative protocols, allegations of sexual abuse at both the Hall and Camp are conducted by the Santa Rosa Police Department (Juvenile Hall) and the Sonoma County Sheriff’s Office (Probation Camp).  These agencies are members of the Sonoma County Sexual Abuse Response Team (SART) and their roles and responsibilities are defined in a Memorandum of Understanding between Sonoma County Law Enforcement agencies, and Public Health Special Clinical Services.   Responding law enforcement have been trained through the California Clinical Forensic Medical Training Center (CCFMTC) and medical exams are conducted by Sexual Abuse Nurse Examiners (SANE) at the Redwood Children’s Center (RCC).   The County’s SART response includes victim advocacy through a local non-profit, Verity, which provides support and counseling services to victims of sexual abuse

Investigative Findings

Following an investigation of an allegation of sexual abuse, the results are reported using the following findings:

Sustained:
The investigation finds that by a preponderance of evidence the act did occur and constitutes a specific act in violation of law, regulation, or policy of the Department or County.

Not Sustained:
The investigation cannot prove or disprove the allegations by a preponderance of the evidence.

Unfounded:
The investigation clearly established that the allegation is not true.

PREA definitions

  1. Sexual Harassment: (1) Repeated and unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, or verbal comments, gestures, or actions of a derogatory or offensive sexual nature by one inmate, detainee, or resident directed toward another; and (2) repeated verbal comments or gestures of a sexual nature to an inmate, detainee, or resident by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer, including demeaning references to gender, sexually suggestive or derogatory comments about body or clothing, or obscene language or gestures.
  2. Sexual Misconduct: Behavior or sexual act directed toward a justice-involved individual by an employee, volunteer, contractor, official visitor, or agency representative. Misconduct includes romantic or sexual relationships including:
    1. Intentional touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks with the intent to abuse, arouse, or gratify sexual desire.
    2. Completed, attempted, threatened, or requested sexual acts.
    3. Occurrences of indecent exposure.
    4. Staff voyeurism.
  3. Sexual Abuse: Where the victim does not consent, is coerced into such act by overt or implied threats of violence, or is unable to consent to or refuse:
    1. Contact between the penis and the vulva or the penis and the anus, including penetration, however slight.
    2. Contact between the mouth and the penis, vulva, or anus.
    3. Penetration of the anal or genital opening of another person, however slight, by a hand, finger, object, or other instrument.
    4. Any other intentional touching, either directly or through the clothing, of the genitalia, anus, groin, breast, inner thigh, or buttocks of another person, excluding contact incidental to a physical altercation.
    5. Additionally, in regards to staff, contractors, or volunteers as the perpetrators:
      1. Contact between the mouth and any body part where the staff member, contractor, or volunteer has the intent to abuse, arouse, or gratify sexual desire.
      2. Any display by a staff member, contractor, or volunteer of his or her uncovered genitalia, buttocks, or breast in the presence of an inmate, detainee, or resident.

Year Total and Average Daily Population Juvenile Hall

 Year  2017  2018  2019
 Youth Admitted  645 623   605
 Average Daily Population - Male  39  31  35
Average Daily Population - Female   8  7  6
Average Daily Population - Total   47  38  41

Juvenile Hall
Total Youth Admitted
2017 - 2019

Total Youth admitted

Juvenile Hall
Average Daily Population (ADP)
2017 - 2019

Juvenile Average Daily Population Chart

Year Total And Average Daily Population Probation Camp

Year  2017  2018  2019
 Youth Admitted  32 22 22
 Average Daily Population - Male  13 9.5 14
 Average Daily Population - Total  13 9.5 14

Probation Camp
Total Youth Admitted
2017 - 2019

Probation Camp Youth Admitted Chart

Probation Camp
Average Daily Population (ADP)
2017 - 2019

Probation Camp Average Daily Population Chart

Reports of Youth on Youth Incidents of Sexual Abuse Juvenile Hall and Probation Camp 2017—2019

Year 2017 2018 2019
Sustained 0 0 1
Not Sustained 0 0 1
Unfounded 0 1 1
Still Under Investigation 0 0 0

Reports of Staff Sexual Misconduct Juvenile Hall and Probation Camp 2017—2019

Year 2017 2018 2019
Sustained 1 0 0
Not Sustained 0 0 0
Unfounded 0 2 1
Still Under Investigation 0 0 0