Sexual Misconduct-PREA

Policy and Procedure

  • Subject: Sexual Misconduct-PREA
  • Policy: 100.08 DOC: 303.13, 303.15 and 303.26
  • Effective: January 13, 2016 Revised: May 30, 2016 03/15/18


In an effort to protect the inmates of Oconto County Jail from sexual misconduct there shall be no sexual activity between staff and inmates nor inmates and inmates.

Contact of sexual nature between someone acting on behalf of or in cooperation with the Oconto County Sheriff's Office and a detainee, victim, witness or offender is unacceptable and potentially unlawful. Sexual misconduct is not consistent with the professional and ethical principles of the law enforcement profession and will not be tolerated. Sexual misconduct can have devastating consequences for victims and their families, for the law enforcement agency, for the community at large, and for all individual involved.

Staff sexual misconduct jeopardizes security and exposes the agency to civil liability. Such misconduct undermines the public support of law enforcement and creates a hostile environment. Sexual misconduct victimizes the vulnerable and creates mistrust within the department.

The Oconto County Sheriff's Office policy is zero tolerance toward employee sexual misconduct and inmate sexual misconduct.

In addition to this Section of the Oconto County Jail Policy, all Correctional staff members shall abide by Chapter III (A) "SEXUAL HARASSMENT" of the Oconto County Employee Handbook.


  1. Staff: For the purpose of this policy staff includes all Oconto County Sheriff's Office employees, vendors, contracted employees, volunteers and those with facility access.
  2. Sexual Misconduct: Any behavior or act of a sexual nature directed toward an inmate, detainee, victim, witness, complainant or offender by any employee, volunteer, vendor, contractor, visitor or agency representative. This includes acts or attempts to commit such acts including, but not limited to, sexual assault, sexual abuse, sexual harassment, sexual contact, conduct of a sexual nature or implication, obscenity and unreasonable or unnecessary invasion of privacy. Sexual misconduct also includes, but is not limited to, conversations or correspondences that suggest a romantic or sexual relationship involving any person mentioned above.

    Sexual misconduct is not limited to unwanted sexual contact. Sexual misconduct is also a range of behaviors or situations that include inappropriate remarks, sexualized name-calling, correspondence, conversations, inappropriate displays, fondling, inappropriate viewing, and sexual contact with individuals vulnerable to the authority of the justice system or any other person in a work setting. Such acts are inappropriate in a work setting and presumed to be unwelcome. Likewise, romantic relationships between supervisors and those under their supervision are presumed to be coercive and may be deemed sexual harassment or misconduct.
  3. Inmate / Inmate Sexual Assault / Conduct: One or more inmates engaging in, or attempting to engage in, a sexual act with another inmate, or the use of threats, intimidation, inappropriate touching, or other actions and/or communications by one or more inmates aimed at coercing and/or pressuring another inmate to engage in a sexual act. Any types of consensual sexual activity or contacts between inmates, even when no objections are raised, are prohibited acts.
  4. Zero Tolerance: For purpose of this policy, zero tolerance means the department will respond to every allegation of sexual misconduct. All cases will be investigated and all guilty parties will be disciplined or prosecuted according to the law.


  1. Screening:
    1. Inmates will be screened by the jail nurse using the PREA questionnaire.If any response is "YES" this should be referred out to classification for further evaluation/housing decisions.
  2. Reporting Requirements for Staff:
    1. Any employee or staff member who knows or reasonably suspects that any employee may be or has been involved in sexual misconduct is required to inform the Jail Administrator.To protect the reputations and integrity of all persons engaged in such a process, including the accuser, the accused, and the alleged victim, all such reports shall be dealt with as matters of highest discretion both before and after they have been submitted to appropriate authorities.
    2. Retaliation in any form against those who report misconduct is strictly prohibited.
    3. False reports or allegations may result in discipline and potential prosecution.
    4. Upon receiving a report of possible sexual misconduct or harassment, the Jail Administrator or designee will initiate the necessary investigation and notify the appropriate parties.
  3. Reporting Requirements for Inmates:
    1. Any inmate in the Oconto County Jail that believes they have been sexually assaulted or harassed or have knowledge of such acts shall report this violation in the following manner.
    2. The inmate shall report the violation to any Correctional Officer or other staff member directly. In case of sexual assault, the inmate will be instructed not to shower or wash until examined by medical staff.
    3. If the inmate is not comfortable with this reporting option they may write their complaint and have it sealed and sent directly to the Jail Administrator for review.
    4. Inmates may call and report PREA violation through the inmate phone system. 920-846-2221 Sexual Assault Hotline. This number is not recorded or tracked for usage.
    5. The inmate will be asked to provide a written account of the accusations listing any facts wished to be considered.
    6. Retaliation in any form against those who report misconduct is strictly prohibited.
    7. False reports or allegations may result in discipline and potential prosecution.
    8. Upon receiving a report of possible sexual misconduct or harassment, the Jail Administrator or designee will initiate the necessary investigation and notify appropriate parties.
  4. 4. Actions To Be Taken:
    1. Separate the accused and victim.
    2. An initial investigation will be completed to determine if the complaint has merit.
    3. Secure the crime scene, property or physical evidence for investigations.
    4. Notify medical staff so an exam can be completed and or action taken, if appropriate.In absence of medical staff, contact the Jail Administrator for further medical instruction.
    5. Jail Administrator, designee or the investigation unit will contact a SANE program provider when needed.
    6. Upon receiving a report of alleged sexual misconduct the Jail Administrator or designee will initiate the investigation and notify the appropriate parties.
    7. The Jail Administrator or designee will contact an outside Law Enforcement Agency for the independent investigation in the event allegations are against a member of the Oconto County Sheriff's Office.
    8. The victim will be advised of contact procedures and services available for mental health counseling.

Procedure- Investigation

  1. All reported violations of sexual misconduct, including sexual assault and harassment, will be investigated and, as warranted, will be resolved through appropriate disciplinary processes and/or criminal proceeding in accordance with applicable state and federal laws.
  2. The rights of both the accused and the complainant shall be protected, and the confidentiality of the proceeding will be maintained to the fullest extent possible.
  3. A thorough and competent investigation into the allegations will be conducted to clearly support or refute the allegations, by evidence, information gathered from witnesses, and documentation.
  4. Primary consideration will be to safeguard the well-being and security of the complaint and the subject, thus ensuring the integrity and credibility of the process and the and the Oconto County Sheriff's Office.
  5. All allegations of staff sexual misconduct will be treated seriously. The response to allegations of staff sexual misconduct will be to determine the merits of the allegations consistent with the following goals:
    1. Protection of victims from misconduct, retaliation or intimidation.
    2. Protection of staff against false accusations of sexual misconduct.
    3. Preservation of the integrity of criminal and administrative investigations.
    4. Support for victims so that reporting of sexual misconduct is not deterred.
    5. A fair and just resolution of allegations.
  6. In addition to this policy on sexual misconduct, Wisconsin Statutes 940.225 (2)(h), makes it a criminal offense for correctional staff members to have sexual contact with an individual confined in a correctional institution.
    1. Staff members who are found to have engaged in staff sexual assault of offenders will be will be disciplined to the fullest extent possible up to and including termination from employment.
    2. Under Wisconsin Statutes 940.225 (2)(h), consent is not an element in a criminal case of staff sexual assault of an offender. The law presumes that consent is impossible because of the unequal power relationship between staff and offenders.
    3. To assist with their mental and physical well-being, offenders that report allegations of staff sexual assault will have access to speaking Oconto County Human Services Department and Health Service Unit.
    4. Victims will be provided the Oconto County Victim Information Form which includes contact numbers for the Sheriff's Office, District Attorney, Victim Witness Assistance, and Sexual Assault Center of Oconto County.

Procedure- Employee Seeking Counseling

These may/can be stressful situations with all staff members involved and they may seek counsel with the Jail Administrator and the Jail Administrator may after review forward out to outside services if deemed necessary.