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Prison Rape Elimination Act Compliance

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What is PREA?

The Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) is a federal law designed to prevent, detect and respond to sexual harassment and abuse of individuals in prisons, jails, juvenile detention facilities, lock-up facilities (including police departments and courts), and community confinement facilities.

How does the Cook County Jail comply with PREA?

The Cook County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) and the Cook County Department of Corrections (CCDOC) have a zero tolerance policy prohibiting the sexual harassment, sexual abuse or voyeurism of any person in our custody. If an employee discovers that a person in CCSO custody has been sexually abused, harassed or in risk of sexual abuse, immediate action must be taken to protect him or her.

The CCSO provides victims of sexual abuse with the same services victims would have access to in the community, unless a specific security reason dictates otherwise. To aid victims in our custody, we have contracted with Rape Victim Advocates (RVA), a Chicago-based rape crisis center, to provide confidential medical and legal advocacy. We are also developing a Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) program at Cermak Health Services, the county-run health care provider for Cook County Jail.

All allegations of sexual abuse will be investigated promptly, thoroughly, and objectively. If sufficient evidence exists, we will seek criminal charges against the offender.

How do I report a PREA violation?

Every employee of the CCSO will accept reports directly from inmates. We will also accept reports from outside of the CCDOC from discharged inmates or from third parties, including family members, friends and attorneys. A report can be made by sending an email to CCSO.PREA@cookcountyil.gov. The person making the report should provide as much of the following information as possible:

  • Name of the victim, with inmate number
  • Name of the offender, if known
  • A description of the incident(s)
  • The date(s), time(s) and location(s) of the incident(s)
  • Name and contact information for others who might have additional information about the incident
  • Your name, address and phone number (optional)

Please be aware that we will accept reports for past incidents regardless of how long ago they occurred, but the sooner an incident is reported, the more likely evidence will be available. We encourage discharged inmates who were reluctant to report while in custody to report as soon as possible after their release.

More information can be found at www.PREAResourcecenter.org

 

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