Anti-Fraternization Polices and their Utility in Preventing Staff Sexual Abuse in Custody

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National PREA Resource Center; National Council on Crime & Delinquency (NCCD); U.S. Department of Justice's Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); NIC/WCL Project on Addressing Prison Rape


Many custodial facilities have implemented anti-fraternization policies that regulate contact between staff and inmates. These policies either limit, or altogether prohibit, interactions between employees and current or former inmates and their families. Correctional employees who are adversely affected by their agency’s anti-fraternization policies most often challenge these polices under the First Amendment, which guarantees the right to freedom of association. Courts generally uphold the agency’s anti-fraternization policy against such challenges, and cite the agency’s interest in maintaining a safe and secure facility. This document provides an overview of how courts across various jurisdictions have responded to employees’ challenges to anti-fraternization policies.