In 2003, the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was signed into law. In August of 2012, the final PREA rule became effective requiring confinement facilities to comply in order to prevent, detect, and respond to all possible PREA occurrences. PREA regulations require agencies to collect data on PREA incidents, with financial penalties for non-compliance. Beginning in 2014, the IJIS Institute, enlisted the help of experts representing key national organizations to form a national PREA Working Group with the goal of creating a national PREA Data Standard that would help agencies to identify critical PREA data elements to exponentially improve overall information sharing, data analysis, and data quality for effective and efficient sharing of information for PREA-related events. Our partner organizations in this effort included: American Correctional Association, American Jail Association, American Probation and Parole Association, Corrections Technology Association, International Association of Chiefs of Police, Council of State Governments Justice Center, PREA Resource Center, National Institute of Corrections, Bureau of Justice Assistance, as well as practitioner advisors from six state departments of correction (Arkansas, Iowa, Minnesota, Montana, Mississippi and New Mexico). Each of the state departments of correction that participated with the working group were interested in becoming pilot sites for implementation of the PREA Data Standard, and, in late March of 2015, three of these states were selected by BJA as pilot sites for implementation: New Mexico, Iowa, and Arkansas. Project implementation teams have been formed by each of the three pilot sites and IJIS staff will be working with each of the pilots throughout the implementation process.
Along with the PREA Data Standard implementations, efforts are currently underway to implement the Corrections Information Sharing (CIS) Service Specification in Illinois, Iowa, and Tennessee corrections agencies. The implementations are a part of the Bureau of Justice Assistance’s Corrections Information Sharing in Support of Reentry projects. The CIS Service Specification was developed with the guidance of an advisory board which included representatives of practice associations, corrections practitioners, and representatives of the technology industry. Although each pilot site has a slightly different information exchange planned with their respective implementation, all are aimed at improving reentry success and, thereby, improving public safety. Although the initial implementations will have a specific focus, the states will be able to expand the data types they exchange in the future using the CIS Service specification which enables offender data exchanges from point of arrest to release from supervision.
Questions about IJIS corrections activities or the PREA Data Standard? Feel free to comment or contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.