04/25/2016

Cherokee County Jail One of First in the State to Receive 100% PREA Compliance Designation

The Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office is proud to announce that following an intense audit of policies and operating procedures, they have attained 100% compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act, also known as PREA.

According the US Bureau of Justice Assistance, PREA was passed unanimously by the United States Congress in 2003 in order to ‘provide for the analysis of incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect individuals from prison rape.’

The U.S. Department of Justice passed the final rules for standards on August 20, 2012.

“While the Prison Rape Elimination Act doesn’t require county jails to comply by adopting and implementing standards, our team at the Cherokee County Sheriff’s Office, after reviewing the Act, felt it was important for us to attempt accreditation in an effort to not only insure the safety of inmates being held in our facility, but also for our staff and community, as well,” stated Cherokee County Sheriff David Groves.

“As an added benefit, since beginning the process of becoming PREA compliant, our office has been contracting jail beds with the Kansas Department of Corrections.  This certification will allow us to meet or exceed the Kansas DOC requirements,” continued Sheriff Groves.

In submitting his final audit report, Retired Kansas Department of Corrections Deputy Warden and owner of 360 Correctional Consulting, Ray Reno stated, “It is very evident that implementation and compliance with the PREA standards is a top priority for the facility. Through interviews with the Sheriff, Jail Administrator, PREA Compliance Manager, and supervisors, it was obvious that this comes from the top level of leadership and is permeated down through all staff. The auditor’s impression is that facility leadership is wholly committed to being fully compliant with the PREA standards, both in terms of documented compliance and in cultural compliance. This facility is well on its way to creating a culture of safety and security where sex abuse and sexual harassment is not tolerated in any form…a culture where staff and inmates are confident that reports will be taken seriously and investigated thoroughly…a ‘reporting culture’ where inmates are very aware of the efforts being made to create a culture of sexual safety.”

“I know the hours of hard work put forth by our staff, including former Jail Administrator Billy Charles, current Jail Administrator Michelle Tippie and PREA Manager T.J. DeGroot, in not only creating and implementing these standards and policies, but also in insuring our staff received adequate training.  I’m grateful for their efforts and I am also extremely thrilled, that according to Mr. Reno, the Cherokee County Jail is the first county jail in the State of Kansas, which he is aware of, to obtain 100% compliance.  I think that is a testament to the dedication of our staff and speaks towards their commitment to keeping inmates and our community safe,” concluded Groves.

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