How A California Victim Advocacy Group is Supporting Detainees at MTC’s Imperial Facility

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The Prison Rape Elimination Act or PREA was made into U.S. law in 2003 with unanimous support from both parties in Congress. Since then, PREA has become the standard for monitoring sexual assault incidents, taking comprehensive preventive measures against future assaults, and providing resources for healing.  From the beginning, MTC has embraced PREA and has spared no expense or resource in meeting and exceeding PREA standards.

As part of that effort, MTC’s Imperial Regional Detention Facility in Calexico, California has forged a solid partnership with the nearby Sure HelpLine Crisis Center whose mission is to provide intervention, information, and referral services to all sexual assault victims.  But the organization’s outreach goes above and beyond its prescribed mission.  At Imperial, the center provides classes for detainees every Monday and Wednesday.

“We provide different topics,” says Sure Helpline’s Lead Advocate Johana Ramirez, “like depression, grief, self-esteem, anger, lack of communication, and many more.”

Imperial Warden John Rathman praises the center for providing these valuable classes and for the center’s overall support. “They provide services in the area of health and wellness.  They’ve lifted the detainee morale and they’ve enlightened detainees in educational values.”

Sure Helpline’s Executive Director Margaret Sauza explains that the volunteers who work with Sure HelpLine are excited to offer their service at Imperial.

“We have worked very closely with the detention center. We’re very proud to go into the detention center, it’s always neat and clean, and everybody’s very respectful.”

Warden Rathman further explains the impact of the Sure HelpLine partnership. 

“Based on their work, we’ve been able to encourage detainees to participate in various groups and better their lives.”