Fifth Judicial District - Department of Correctional Services

DISTRICT POLICIES

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TITLE: Sexual Misconduct And Violence

POLICY

It is the policy of the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services to prohibit all employees, volunteers, and contractors (referred to in this policy as staff) from engaging in sexual misconduct or violence with offenders. The potential abuse of power inherent in staff-offender relationships is at the core of staff sexual misconduct and violence. The inherent difference in power between staff and offenders makes any consensual relationship between staff and offenders impossible. Sexual contact between an offender and staff is considered sexual misconduct and is never consensual. This type of behavior is considered a serious breach of security and these relationships will not be tolerated. Engaging in an unauthorized relationship may result in criminal prosecution and/or employment termination.

Iowa Code Section 709.16(1) states, "an officer, employee, contractor, vendor, volunteer, or agent of the department of corrections, or an officer, employee, or agent of a judicial district department of correctional services, who engages in a sex act with an individual committed to the custody of the department of corrections or a judicial district department of correctional services commits an aggravated misdemeanor".

DEFINITIONS

Allegation - Any event that is said to have happened of a sexual nature but which has not yet been verified.

Intimacy - Other sexually inappropriate behavior not defined as sexual contact or sexual abuse of an offender including kissing, intimate or flirtatious conversation or touching parts of the body not defined under sexual contact. This includes behavior unrelated to the performance of job duties.

Invasion of Privacy - Intentionally observing and attempting to observe an offender’s activities involving hygiene or personal care, without a sound job-related reason. Any act by any staff that is considered to be reasonable and a necessary part of official duties and responsibilities, will not be regarded as an invasion of privacy; this includes observing the collection of UAs.

Retaliation - An act of vengeance, covert or overt action or threat of action, taken against an offender in response to the offender’s complaint of sexual misconduct or violence or cooperation in the reporting or investigation of sexual misconduct or violence, regardless of the merits or the disposition of the complaint. Examples of acts of retaliation, include but are not limited to: unnecessary discipline, intimidation, unnecessary changes in work or program assignments, unjustified transfers or placements, or unjustified denials of privileges or services.

Sexual Abuse - Sexual abuse includes, but is not limited to, subjecting an offender to sexual contact by persuasion, inducement, enticement, or forcible compulsion.

Sexual Contact - Intentional contact of an inappropriate nature either directly or through clothing such as touching of the genitalia, anus, groin, breasts, inner thighs, or buttocks of any person. This includes all touching unrelated to the necessary performance of job duties. (See Iowa Code Section 702.17)

Sexual Misconduct - Conduct of a sexual nature by staff that is directed toward offenders under the care, custody and supervision of the department. Sexual misconduct with offenders includes acts or attempt to commit acts of sexual contact, sexual abuse, invasion of privacy, intimacy, or behavior for personal sexual gratification. This includes, but is not limited to acts or attempts to commit such acts as:

Sexual Violence Propensity Assessment – Assessment to determine an offender’s potential vulnerability to a sexual assault or risk of sexually assaultive behavior.

Staff – As used in this policy refers to an employee, contractor, vendor, volunteer or agent of the Fifth Judicial District Department of Correctional Services.

Victim Counselor – A person who is engaged in a crime victim center, is certified as a counselor by the crime victim center, and is under the control of direct services supervisor of a crime victim center, whose primary purpose is the rendering of advice, counseling, and assistance.

PROCEDURES

Acts of sexual misconduct or violence with offenders or retaliation against offenders who refuse to submit to sexual advances are prohibited. All allegations and incidents of intimacy, sexual contact or sexual abuse by staff with offenders must be reported, fully investigated and treated in a confidential and serious manner. All offenders will be advised of their right to be free of sexual misconduct or violence from staff. All staff will receive training and orientation on this policy.

  1. Duties of the District Director:
    1. The Department will develop a process for reporting and investigating incidents of sexual misconduct or violence by staff. The process will include multiple points of reporting for offenders and staff, trained investigators and a consistent investigative process.
    2. Local or state law enforcement shall be contacted for any allegations, which could, if substantiated, result in criminal prosecution.
    3. The District Director shall assign an investigator to investigate all allegations of sexual misconduct or violence.
    4. Pending the outcome of an investigation, the District Director will ensure that affected staff and offenders are separated through appropriate placement, segregation, transfer or leave (including suspension) options.
    5. The District Director will notify the regional Deputy Director in a timely manner of serious incidents of alleged sexual misconduct or violence and follow up with a written critical incident report.
    6. The District Director shall document all actions taken.
    7. The District Director is responsible for ensuring that policies, training and culture address the issue of sexual misconduct and violence.
    8. The District Director will ensure offenders are provided with information about behaviors that constitute sexual misconduct or violence and retaliations, ensure that the offender understands the process by which such incidents are reported and investigated and ensure offenders understand consequences for making false allegations.
    9. Being falsely accused of sexual misconduct or violence can be a traumatic event for staff. If an investigation is conducted and the accusations are not substantiated, the District Director will ensure support services are offered to that staff member in accordance with the Staff Victimization & Support Services policy.
  2. Duties of Staff
    1. Staff will adhere to all the procedures and guidelines of this policy and will ensure their conduct does not constitute or promote sexual misconduct or violence nor in any other way violates the provisions of this policy.
    2. It is mandatory that all allegations and incidents of sexual misconduct or violence between staff and offenders including sexual abuse or sexual violence, sexual contact, invasion of privacy and intimacy by staff will be immediately reported to the direct supervisors.
    3. Staff will provide complete cooperation and will not interfere with the official process of investigating sexual misconduct and violence. This includes failure to report or attempts to cover up an incident of sexual misconduct or violence, allegation or statement that a party or a witness knew could not have been true, or any form of failure to cooperate with an investigation or inquiry. Failure to cooperate or failure to report shall result in corrective action being taken, including discipline.
    4. Staff will not retaliate upon knowledge of sexual misconduct or violence allegations.
  3. Duties of Supervisory Staff
    1. Upon receiving notification of an activity prohibited by this policy, supervisors at all levels within the Department will report the alleged activity in a timely manner to the District Director or designee. All reported conduct prohibited by this policy will be treated seriously.
    2. Ensure all offenders who report they have been sexually abused or assaulted are appropriately referred to an appropriate health provider. The responsible supervisor will also ensure that offenders receive appropriate psychological evaluation, and recommended follow-up and ongoing support.
    3. Ensure adequate measures have been taken to provide separation between the affected offender and staff during the investigation without punishing the offender.
    4. Take appropriate action for substantiated staff misconduct.
    5. Document all actions taken.
  4. Duties of the Department Investigator:
    1. The offender will be asked if a victim counselor is desired prior to the interview beginning. The request will be honored but, if necessary, the investigation can proceed if there is an unavoidable delay in obtaining a victim counselor.
    2. Interviews will be conducted in a thorough, professional, non-abusive, and non-threatening manner consistent with acceptable practices for potentially traumatized victims of sex crimes.
    3. Allegations, which include intercourse, sodomy, or physical force/violence, will require consultation with medical staff.
      1. In the event an offender makes an allegation of penetration against a staff member and the most recent act has occurred within the past 48 hours, the offender will be immediately examined by a physician, not employed by the Department, skilled and experienced in using a rape kit for collection of forensic evidence.
      2. Psychological evaluation and counseling will be available to offenders who are victims of staff sexual misconduct or violence until either or both the psychologist and the victim are satisfied that sessions should be terminated.
    4. The investigative report will indicate whether the evidence supports a finding that misconduct has occurred, the allegations are false, or the evidence is inconclusive.
    5. Document all actions taken.
  5. Duties of Offenders:
    1. During admission to custody or supervision, offenders will be informed about their right to be free from sexual misconduct and violence.
    2. Reporting guidelines and procedures will be explained during orientation and will include multiple reporting paths.
    3. Offenders will provide complete cooperation and will not interfere with the official process of investigating sexual misconduct or violence. This includes failure to report or attempts to cover up an incident of sexual misconduct or violence, allegation or statement that a party or a witness knew could not have been true, or any form of failure to cooperate with an investigation or inquiry. Failure to cooperate, failure to report, or purposeful, malicious false statements may result in corrective action being taken including discipline, up to and including revocation of supervision.
  6. Training
    1. All new staff will receive training regarding the provisions of this policy.
    2. All staff in positions with offender contact or with access to offenders will annually review this policy. All staff will sign a receipt acknowledging the policy has been read and is understood.
  7. Assessment
    1. When the writer of a Pre-Sentence Investigation (PSI) recommends prison or a CBC facility the PSI writer will complete a Sexual Violence Propensity Assessment
    2. If an offender is being sent to the facility and an assessment has not been done at any level, then the supervising PO/PPO will conduct the Sexual Violence Propensity Assessment before the offender is sent to the facility. If there is no supervising PO/PPO the assessment will be completed upon arrival at the facility.
    3. If an offender is sentenced directly to the facility from the courts then the facility staff will conduct the assessment.
    4. If for some reason an offender shows up at the facility without a Sexual Violence Propensity Assessment then the Residential Probation Officer or trained RO will conduct the assessment.
    5. A propensity assessment update will be completed when incidents/events occur that would likely change the assessment result; i.e. a new sentence, a predatory disciplinary report of a sexual nature, an incident of victimization, a substantiated sexual assault investigation, when new and relevant information becomes available, or other significant event occurs that is relative to the elements contained in the assessment tool.
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