Michela Bowman has been the Co-Director of the National Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) Resource Center (PRC) since its inception in 2010. The PRC is funded through a cooperative agreement between the Bureau of Justice Assistance at the Office of Justice Programs in the Department of Justice (DOJ), and Impact Justice. The PRC is charged with working with adult and juvenile corrections and law enforcement to prevent, detect, and respond to sexual abuse in their facilities through the implementation of the federal PREA standards. In this role, Michela led the task of developing a nationwide audit of PREA standards and a certification training for auditors. The PRC is also responsible for providing extensive training and technical assistance to facilities and agencies around the country. Michela not only oversees much of this work provided by the PRC, she is a leading PREA content expert who provides direct assistance through presentations, trainings, and individualized technical assistance to corrections and law enforcement. She trains on many standards specific areas, particularly on the specific protections for LGBTI prisoners and detainees in both adult and juvenile settings, and has focused on the challenges facing transgender people who are incarcerated over the course of her work with the PRC.
Michela has worked with prisons and jails on conditions issues for more than 20 years, advocating for prisoners with serious health needs with legal organizations, and then becoming a technical assistance provider with the Vera Institute of Justice. While at Vera, she managed the process for developing the PREA standards on behalf of the National Prison Rape Elimination Commission, and was the liaison between the commission and the DOJ during its standard review process. She also directed a project that provided technical assistance to state prison systems and county jails that was designed to help them assess and strengthen both internal and external oversight mechanisms. She also helped to launch a project that worked with state prison systems to reduce their use of solitary confinement. Michela has a Master’s Degree in Law and Society from New York University, and a law degree from NYU School of Law.