BARCC believes that all survivors deserve support in healing from the trauma of sexual violence. We also know that sexual violence affects thousands of people who are in the correctional system. That’s why BARCC established the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Project in 2015 to provide vital support to survivors of sexual violence who are incarcerated in Massachusetts. The PREA Project is designed around federal regulations released in 2012 aimed at reducing sexual assault in prison.
Challenges survivors face in prisons, jails, and correctional facilities
- Limited resources: Prisoners can’t use the internet. They have less access to people and materials that will help them process the trauma they’ve experienced, find healing, and explore their options.
- Lack of control: Being incarcerated significantly limits the choices survivors can make. Regaining a sense of control is a paramount aspect of healing and difficult to have in a correctional facility.
- Goal of the prison system: The goal of the correctional facility is not to support healing for survivors. While BARCC works to empower survivors, the prison system works to maintain control over them and their activities.
Our PREA services
BARCC works with three agencies—the Massachusetts Department of Corrections, the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Department, and the Norfolk County Sheriff’s Office—to provide support in 21 facilities throughout the state.
“For survivors, we are creating a safer space in which they can be believed and supported, where they can confidentially discuss trauma they’ve experienced.”
—Katia Santiago-Taylor, BARCC manager of system advocacy
BARCC’s free PREA services include the following:
- Confidential PREA hotline, 12 hours a day, for survivors to get emotional support, information about making reports, and more
- Accompaniment at the hospital when a prisoner is there for a sexual assault evidence collection exam
- A mail program that provides resources, recommendations, and referrals
- Orientation and education for prisoners on their PREA rights and how to access resources
BARCC also provides training for correctional staff and administrators about the impact of sexual violence. BARCC has conducted multiple trainings for all three agencies on the following topics:
- Understanding sexual violence
- Obligations under PREA
- Impact of trauma
- How to support survivors by providing safety, offering options, walking through the process, and recognizing needs