20th Anniversary of PREA

Linda Bruntmayer SPR Conference June 2003

(Image by Just Detention International)  

September 4, 2023 marked the 20th Anniversary of the passage of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. Today especially, Impact Justice and the National PREA Resource Center recognize the many survivors of abuse - those who have reported it and those who have endured in silence. Your strength motivates us to work every day to make the promise of PREA a reality. We also celebrate the many corrections and juvenile justice officials and community advocates across the country who are actively promoting sexual safety in jails, prisons, juvenile confinement facilities, lockups, and community corrections facilities. It takes regular attention and dedication to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse and harassment in confinement.

We want to make sure you saw the CNN opinion piece by Judge Reggie B. Walton, longtime champion of PREA who chaired the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission. In his op-ed Judge Walton recognizes how far we have come over the past two decades while also emphasizing that the problem of sexual abuse in confinement is far from solved. He calls on corrections leaders, Congress, the Department of Justice, and ultimately all of us to honor the duty we have to protect people who have little or no ability to protect themselves. 

On November 29–30, 2023, over 100 PREA champions from across the nation gathered at the Department of Justice to honor the historic passage of PREA, review our collective work toward achieving sexual safety in confinement, and discuss the future of PREA implementation. This historic milestone was marked by the presence of Assistant Attorney General Amy Solomon of the Office of Justice Programs, Deputy Attorney General Lisa O. Monaco, and Director Karhlton F. Moore of the Bureau of Justice Assistance, each of whom delivered opening remarks.


We also heard from a diversity of voices and gained valuable insight about the current state of PREA implementation. This multifaceted perspective will allow us to strategize and craft a vision for the future that takes into account the contributions and lived experience of correctional practitioners, auditors, policy makers, advocates, survivors and their families. 

When asked what keeps them in this work, here is what a few PREA champions shared:


In addition, Dana Shoenberg, Director of the National PREA Resource Center, shared her reflections on this milestone moment. You can read the perspective piece here

This short video celebrates the history of PREA's passage and the years that followed.

We at the PREA Resource Center remain committed to advancing the cause of sexual safety every day. We paused to mark this important occasion, took in the reflections and advice of so many champions of this work, and look forward to the opportunities in the months and years ahead to bring new ideas and new energy to our common goal.

Twenty years after the passage of PREA, our work is far from done. We hope you will join us in recommitting to this important work.