|State of New Jersey
"Protecting Public Safety by Changing Offender Behavior"
Victoria Kuhn, Esq.
The New Jersey Department of Corrections (NJDOC) maintains compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA). Signed into federal law in 2003, PREA is designed to prevent, detect, and respond to incidences of sexual abuse and sexual harassment in confinement facilities.
Under PREA, inmates who are committed to the custody of the NJDOC:
PREA reporting and resource information is available throughout each correctional facility. Additionally, Institutional PREA Compliance Managers are assigned at each correctional facility to oversee and coordinate PREA compliance.
NJDOC Zero Tolerance Policy
The NJDOC maintains a zero tolerance toward all forms of inmate sexual abuse and inmate sexual harassment. The NJDOC will respond to, investigate, and support the prosecution of sexual abuse and sexual harassment within the correctional system and externally in partnership with state and local authorities.
The NJDOC accepts and investigates all inmate and third-party verbal, written, and anonymous reports of sexual abuse/sexual harassment. Additionally, the County Prosecutor may be contacted for potential criminal investigation and prosecution.
All NJDOC staff members, contractors and volunteers receive training on their duties and responsibilities under the NJDOC’s zero tolerance policy and PREA standards.
All NJDOC staff members, contractors and volunteers are required to immediately report any occurrence of inmate sexual abuse /sexual harassment and retaliation.
Pursuant to New Jersey P.L.2019, c.408 a person who is required to report suspected inmate abuse and fails to do so is liable to a penalty of up to $5,000, and each violation would be a separate offense.
The NJDOC protects all inmates and staff who report sexual abuse or sexual harassment and cooperate with sexual abuse or sexual harassment investigations from retaliation by other inmates or staff.
Reporting Inmate Sexual Abuse/Sexual Harassment
Inmates who are victims of sexual abuse/ sexual harassment, or have knowledge of sexual abuse/sexual harassment or retaliation should immediately report the incident by using any of the following reporting methods:
Third Party Reporting of Inmate Sexual Abuse/Sexual Harassment:
Family members, friends, attorneys, clergy or any other third party may make a report of sexual abuse/sexual harassment or retaliation on an inmate’s behalf by using any of the following methods:
External Reporting of Inmate Sexual Abuse/Sexual Harassment and Retaliation Through the Office of Corrections Ombudsman
The Office of the Corrections Ombudsman serves as an available independent external resource for both inmates and third parties to report incidents of sexual abuse, harassment, or retaliation. Reports to this office are confidential and are anonymous upon request.
All Allegations of inmate sexual abuse, sexual harassment or retaliation are immediately forwarded to the NJDOC for investigation.
Inmates can contact the Office of the Corrections Ombudsman by completing an “Ombudsman Inmate Request for Assistance Form" that is available at each correctional facility, writing directly to their office, or by calling their confidential, toll-free Inmate Telephone System number.
Third parties can report sexual abuse/sexual harassment or retaliation in writing or by calling the Office’s public telephone number.
Mail directed to or from the Office of the Corrections Ombudsman is classified "Legal, Confidential and Official".
Office of Corrections Ombudsman Contact Information:
Below is a list of PREA Audit Reports. PREA audit cycles run every three years from Aug. 20 - Aug. 19