Kearney YRTC gets perfect report for preventing prison rape

Published: Nov. 21, 2018 at 12:55 PM CST
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The Kearney Youth Rehabilitation and Treatment center scored perfect marks during a recent federal audit designed to check how the facility prevents sexual abuse.

The Kearney YRTC houses juvenile male offenders. The YRTC in Geneva, which houses female offenders, also got perfect marks during the same federal audit. Both facilities met all 43 standards required under the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA).

“We work hard to make sure youth in our care feel protected and are safe,” said Mark LaBouchardiere, DHHS Facilities Director. “These reports reflect our due diligence in doing so at both the boys’ facility in Kearney and our girls’ facility in Geneva. These results demonstrate our constant commitment to excellence and our high personal standards of integrity.”

The auditor indicated in the reports that DHHS operates excellent facilities and that it is clear the agency and facility administrators and staff have worked diligently to achieve compliance with the PREA standards and understand completely that complying with the standards goes a long way in creating a safer environment for both the residents and the staff.

The audit included tours of the facilities, interviews with youth, staff and administrators at both campuses and a review of policies and procedures, reporting processes and incident investigations. The findings included an increase in the number of security cameras, appropriately handled incident reviews and fidelity to the PREA posting and reporting requirements at both sites.

“Passing the PREA audit is an impressive accomplishment in the efforts to ensure that all forms of sexual abuse of youth at each facility can be better prevented, detected and responded to,” said Julie Rogers, Inspector General of Nebraska Child Welfare. “The Office of Inspector General has investigated alleged sexual assault incidents in the past at both YRTC facilities. The staff at both facilities should be commended for their dedication to this process for better safety of Nebraska youth.”

The PREA was enacted in 2012 to provide for the 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 individuals from prison rape. All confinement facilities covered under the PREA standards, including juvenile facilities, must be audited at least once during every three-year audit cycle to be considered compliant with the PREA standards, with at least one third of each facility type operated by an agency audited each year of the three-year audit cycle.