Collaborating with Corrections: PREA and Beyond
As with all SART work, improving the response to sexual violence in correctional facilities will be an ongoing process. There are a number of ways SARTs and corrections can work together to create a better response for victims/survivors in custody. It can be helpful to regularly consider the following:
- How will SART members and correctional staff’s relationships and knowledge be maintained over time, and throughout staff turnover? Initial and refresher trainings, and regular meetings can be a proactive way to address this concern.
- How does the response to sexual violence in custody serve all victims/survivors in the facility? SARTs and corrections should have ongoing work and purposeful conversations about how your service provision and response serves all survivors in facilities, including survivors who are differently abled, survivors who have limited English proficiently, survivors who are LGBTQ+, and survivors who have mental health concerns.
- How does the SART response ensure the safety of inmate-survivors? Inmates who report prior sexual victimization are 20 times more likely than inmates who don’t to report experiencing sexual victimization in a facility. Similar to in the community, people in custody who are perceived as vulnerable, unlikely to be believed, and unlikely to make a report are targeted for sexual violence. The knowledge that someone has experienced sexual violence before can make them a target. In our SART response, we want to ensure our services take steps to prevent that from occurring.
SARTs and corrections each bring their sets of expertise to the table. By collaborating together, you can provide a better response for victims/survivors held in custody in your community.
This month’s blog series was written by Sophia Berg, yearlong fellow with MNCASA focusing on rural advocacy, SARTs, and PREA.