The Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003, commonly known as PREA, is a federal law enacted to protect inmates in jails and prison from sexual abuse and sexual harassment during their incarceration.

Page updated on Nov 29, 2021 at 4:09 PM

PREA OverviewPREA became law to put an end to sexual abuse of all kinds in detention facilities and requires all prisons and jails to have policies to prevent, detect and respond to sexual assault. PREA covers staff against inmate sexual abuse as well as inmate against inmate sexual abuse.

The Alexandria Sheriff’s Office has a zero-tolerance policy for sexual misconduct against persons in our custody and within all facilities and operations under the control of the Sheriff.  Sexual conduct between inmates and staff, volunteers, or contract personnel and between inmates, regardless of consensual status, is prohibited and subject to administrative disciplinary and criminal prosecution.

Information for Inmates and their Families and Legal Counsel

PREA SignThe Alexandria Sheriff’s Office takes any reports of sexual abuse seriously and is committed to keeping inmates who make reports safe from retaliation.

Inmates who have been sexually abused or harassed are encouraged to immediately speak with their Housing Unit Deputy. This will allow for the quickest response. Inmates can also make a confidential report to any staff member of the Sheriff’s Office to include medical staff, mental health counselors or classification counselors or to their attorney or family member. Reports can be made by victims or as someone who has witnessed sexual abuse, harassment or assault.

All inmates receive information on how to report sexual abuse and harassment through inmate orientation, posters, educational videos and ongoing communication.

Inmates may report in person, through the PREA hotline number, or by filing an emergency grievance form. An inmate, friend, relative or attorney may file a report by calling the Special Investigations Deputy at 703.746.5008. Inmates can also file a report with the Alexandria Sexual Assault Hotline, which is independent from the Sheriff’s Office, using the Inmate Phone system at 703.683.7273. Calls to either of these numbers can be made free of charge from all Housing Units.

An administrative investigation conducted by the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office or a criminal investigation conducted by the Alexandria Police Department, in accordance with PREA standards, will be completed for all allegations of sexual abuse and sexual harassment.


In 2015, the Alexandria Sheriff’s Office implemented training for all its employees and contract staff to educate those who work with inmates about PREA and compliance with PREA standards. Additionally, supervisors and commanders have been trained to investigate potential PREA violations.