BATON ROUGE, La. – Louisiana’s seven state prisons completed two years of audits this week, and were determined PREA compliant by Federal Department of Justice Auditors. Audits of the state’s facilities began in January of 2015. Auditors spent the past two years inspecting and evaluating Louisiana’s policies and procedures, and the physical layouts of each prison to determine whether each facility was compliant. In addition to record and documentation review, auditors also interviewed numerous offenders and staff to ensure PREA regulations were being implemented.
“This is a testament to the hard-working individuals within Louisiana’s Department of Corrections,” said Department of Public Safety and Corrections Secretary James M. Le Blanc. “These standards are necessary to help protect our offenders and our employees. I’m proud of our staff for their dedication to improving corrections by successfully implementing PREA requirements and for choosing to hold ourselves to a higher standard.”
“Leadership from Secretary Le Blanc, the State’s prison wardens, and partnerships with community resource groups, have made this a successful endeavor in achieving compliance for the state’s prisons,” said Michele Dauzat, Louisiana PREA Coordinator.
PREA is the Prison Rape Elimination Act, which was passed by Congress in 2003. The purpose of the act is to provide for analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape in Federal, State, and local institutions and to provide information, resources, recommendations and funding to protect offenders and prevent sexual abuse in prisons.
Auditors evaluated all seven state prisons including, David Wade Correctional Center, Dixon Correctional Institute, Elayn Hunt Correctional Institute, Louisiana Correctional Institute for Women, Louisiana State Penitentiary at Angola, Rayburn Correctional Center, and Raymond Laborde Correctional Center. Because of its age and large population, Angola proved to be one of the biggest challenges in attaining compliance. State DOC employees worked hard to overcome the obstacles in making Angola compliant. Ten auditors spent a week at Angola auditing the facility. The Department of Justice enlisted Louisiana to educate and assist other states that might face the same challenges as Angola.
PREA requirements mandate each facility be audited once every three years. Louisiana’s State prisons have already begun preparing for the next audit cycle, which begins in 2018.
For more information on Louisiana’s PREA policies and procedures visit the Department’s website.
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