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National Prison Rape Statistics Program


The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA; P.L. 108-79) requires BJS to carry out an annual comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape. This review must include, but is not limited to, the identification of the common characteristics of both victims and perpetrators of prison rape, and prisons and prison systems with a high incidence of prison rape. Analysis must—

  • be based on a random sample, or other scientifically appropriate sample, of not less than 10% of all federal, state, and county prisons, and a representative sample of municipal prisons; and include at least one prison from each state
  • use surveys and other statistical studies of current and former inmates from a representative sample of federal, state, county, and municipal prisons, and ensure the confidentiality of each survey participant
  • specify a list of institutions in the sample, separated by type and ranked according to the incidence of prison rape in each institution; and
  • provide a list of any prisons in the sample that did not cooperate with the survey.

PREA applies to all correctional facilities, including prisons, jails, juvenile facilities, military and Indian country facilities, and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) facilities. Recognizing the sensitive nature of sexual victimization and the potential reluctance of victims to report sexual assault, BJS developed the National Prison Rape Statistics Program (NPRSP) to collect multiple measures of the incidence and prevalence of sexual victimization in correctional settings. The NPRSP currently includes—

  • the National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC) provides prevalence and incidence estimates of youth reporting sexual victimization in juvenile facilities.
  • the National Inmate Survey (NIS) gathers data on the prevalence and incidence of sexual assault in adult prisons and local jail facilities as reported by state prisoners and local jail inmates.
  • the Survey of Sexual Victimization (SSV) an administrative data collection based on official records of allegations and substantiated incidents kept by adult correctional and juvenile facilities.