Policies and Resolutions

Corrections Today, April 2003 | Go to article overview

Policies and Resolutions


For Member Input

Editor's Note: The following proposed policy was approved for entry into the policy development process: Public Correctional Policy on Sexual Misconduct. It is printed below for member review and comment. Comments should be sent to: Gabriella Daley, Director, Communications and Publications, American Correctional Association, 4380 Forbes Boulevard, Lanham, MD 20706; fax (301) 918-1886; e-mail: gdaley@aca.org. Please submit comments by June 2, 2003.

Proposed Public Correctional Policy on Sexual Misconduct

Introduction:

Sexual misconduct is unethical and unprofessional. It includes any behavior or act of a sexual nature that is prohibited by law and/or policy. Sexual misconduct is not consensual because corrections professionals have a duty to protect and help the offenders under their supervision. Sexual misconduct among juveniles and adults confined in institutions is consicered a physical assault and jeopardizes the safety of the individual and the facility. This issue has been the focus of much litigation, legislation and administrative policy in recent years. Corrections agencies should take a leadership role to eliminate this problem.

Policy Statement:

Sexual misconduct and sexual assault of any kind by any staff member, vendor, contractor, volunteer, visitor or other agency representative whether it occurs in a correctional facility or on community supervision shall not be tolerated and shall be submitted for prosecution and administrative action. Correctional agencies must foster an environment where staff and offenders are encouraged to report sexual misconduct without reprisal. Correctional agencies shall report all instances of sexual misconduct and sexual assault to the proper authorities for prosecution and administrative action. The corrections community should collaborate with other organizations and agencies to provide victims of sexual misconduct and assault the treatment they need. Correctional agencies should:

A. Seek legislation making sexual misconduct between staff and offenders and sexual assault among offenders a criminal offense, if such legislation does not already exist in a jurisdiction.

B. Establish, publicize and enforce a zero-tolerance policy regarding all forms of sexual misconduct;

C. Develop and adopt specific, clear and concise policies and definitions that minimize interpretations of the term "sexual misconduct" and the response to violations of the policies;

D. Provide orientation and ongoing in-service training to staff emphasizing the zero-tolerance policy and explaining state law, case law, and administrative policies on the issue; provide training and support for personnel assigned to investigate allegations of sexual misconduct;

E. Provide offender orientation and ongoing education on the issue of sexual misconduct that includes at a minimum, information on the zero-tolerance policy, how to report allegations, how to obtain medical and mental health services, how to seek relief against retaliation for reporting allegations and possible disciplinary actions for making false allegations;

F. Provide appropriate orientation to any agency representative having direct contact with offenders;

G. Establish policies and procedures for reporting and investigating allegations and protecting all the parties involved from retaliation;

H. Establish partnerships with prosecutors, medical providers, mental health providers and others who can provide advice, support and direct services to offenders and to staff who are victims of sexual misconduct; and

I. Establish systematic collection of data to document the number of sexual misconduct allegations the nature of each allegation and the resolution.

New Policy

Editor's Note: The following Public Correctional Policy on Law Enforcement, Judicial and Correctional Partnerships, previously in Corrections Today for member input, was ratified by the Delegate Assembly. …

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