Prison Rape Elimination Act and the DYS Juvenile Setting

The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS) mandates a ZERO TOLERANCE toward all forms of sexual abuse and harassment.  

It is the policy of the Department of Youth Services to comply with the requirements of the Prison Rape Elimination Act (“PREA”) to protect its youth from all forms of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.  In accordance with PREA, DYS seeks to prevent, detect, and respond to allegations of such conduct.  All allegations of sexual boundary violations, sexual abuse, sexual harassment or retaliation for reporting such conduct against youth by employees shall be considered a serious incident, investigated and may subject employees to appropriate discipline in accordance with these procedures.

Federal legislation passed in 2012 which requires states to come into compliance with a comprehensive set of standards focused on safety from sexual assault for all people confined in correctional settings. This legislation includes youth confined in both staff secure and hardware secure residential programs. In 2014, DYS completed its first round of PREA audits and achieved the highest rating of “compliance” in all programs reviewed. The 2014 PREA audit was the first of a three series process where 1/3 of our programs will be audited each year from now through August 2016.

In 2015, the Department of Youth Services initiated its second round of PREA audits.  The final audit reports for the second round were completed in July 2015, and shared by a PREA Auditor who also serves a Correctional Consultant for the US Department of Justice.  

The PREA auditor shared this about DYS in its 2015 audit summary report:

I have now completed PREA compliance audits for 37 of the juvenile justice facilities operated by, or on behalf of, the Massachusetts Department of Youth Services (DYS)... I have spent my entire professional life (35 plus years and counting) committed to keeping youth safe while in placement away from home.  I have audited, toured, observed and provided technical assistance to jurisdictions and programs all over the country...  I have never seen another state-wide juvenile justice system that provides such high fidelity of its mission and philosophy across all its programs, let alone the vendor-providers under its supervision.  The Massachusetts Department of Youth Services stands alone with this distinction.

Click to view the complete PREA Audit summary letter for 2015  docx format of PREA Audit summary letter for 2015

Third Round of DYS PREA Reports:

Second Round of DYS PREA Reports:

First Round of DYS PREA Reports: 

PREA Annual Reports

These reports summarize the most recent findings of the Survey of Sexual Violence, State Juvenile Systems Summary Form as submitted to the U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS).

This information is provided by the Department of Youth Services.