the WHITE HOUSEPresident Barack Obama

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The White House
Office of the Press Secretary
For Immediate Release

Presidential Memorandum -- Implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act

May 17, 2012


SUBJECT:  Implementing the Prison Rape Elimination Act

Sexual violence, against any victim, is an assault on human dignity and an affront to American values.  The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (PREA) was enacted with bipartisan support and established a "zero tolerance standard" for rape in prisons in the United States.  42 U.S.C. 15602(1).

My Administration, with leadership from the Department of Justice, has worked diligently to implement the principles set out in PREA.  Today, the Attorney General finalized a rule adopting national standards to prevent, detect, and respond to prison rape.  This rule expresses my Administration's conclusion that PREA applies to all Federal confinement facilities, including those operated by executive departments and agencies (agencies) other than the Department of Justice, whether administered by the Federal Government or by a private organization on behalf of the Federal Government.

Each agency is responsible for, and must be accountable for, the operations of its own confinement facilities, and each agency has extensive expertise regarding its own facilities, particularly those housing unique populations.  Thus, each agency is best positioned to determine how to implement the Federal laws and rules that govern its own operations, the conduct of its own employees, and the safety of persons in its custody.  To advance the goals of PREA, we must ensure that all agencies that operate confinement facilities adopt high standards to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse.  In addition to adopting such standards, the success of PREA in combating sexual abuse in confinement facilities will depend on effective agency and facility leadership and the development of an agency culture that prioritizes efforts to combat sexual abuse.

In order to implement PREA comprehensively across the Federal Government, I hereby direct all agencies with Federal confinement facilities that are not already subject to the Department of Justice's final rule to work with the Attorney General to propose, within 120 days of the date of this memorandum, any rules or procedures necessary to satisfy the requirements of PREA and to finalize any such rules or procedures within 240 days of their proposal.

This memorandum shall be implemented consistent with the requirements of Executive Order 13175 of November 6, 2000 (Consultation and Coordination With Indian Tribal Governments).

This memorandum is not intended to, and does not, create any right or benefit, substantive or procedural, enforceable at law or in equity by any party against the United States, its departments, agencies, or entities, its officers, employees, or agents, or any other person.

The Director of the Office of Management and Budget is hereby authorized and directed to publish this memorandum in the Federal Register.