On September 4, 2003, President George W. Bush signed the Prison Rape Elimination Act of 2003 (Public Law 108-79). The act requires BJS to carry out, for each calendar year, a comprehensive statistical review and analysis of the incidence and effects of prison rape. The act further instructs BJS to collect survey data: the Bureau shall use surveys and other statistical studies of current and former inmates. The law was passed in part to overcome a shortage of available research on the incidence and prevalence of sexual violence in correctional facilities.
To implement the act, BJS developed the National Prison Rape Statistics Program (NPRS), which includes four separate data collection efforts: the Survey on Sexual Victimization (SSV, formerly Survey of Sexual Violence), National Inmate Survey (NIS), National Survey of Youth in Custody (NSYC), and National Former Prisoner Survey (NFPS).
Each of these collections is independent and, while not directly comparable, they provide measures of the prevalence and characteristics of sexual assault in correctional facilities. The SSV collects information about incidents of sexual violence reported to and investigated by adult and juvenile correctional authorities and characteristics of substantiated incidents. The NIS collects allegations of sexual assault self-reported by adult and juvenile inmates in correctional facilities. The NSYC gathers self-reported sexual assault data from youth in juvenile correctional facilities. The NFPS measures allegations of sexual assault experienced during a person last incarceration, as reported by former inmates under community active supervision.
This award will provide funding through a cooperative agreement for a collection agent to administer the fourth round of the NIS (NIS-4). The NIS is an Audio Computer-Assisted Self-Interview (ACASI) instrument administered to inmates in correctional facilities to measure the prevalence of sexual assault at the facility level. Project activities include drawing a national sample of federal and state-operated prison facilities and privately operated prison facilities that house inmates under federal or state jurisdiction; administering the survey to sampled inmates in these facilities; and conducting all data collection, analyses, and reporting activities.