Congress established NPREC in 2003 as part of the Prison Rape Elimination Act. During the 20 years prior to enacting this legislation, it estimated that more than 1 million people had been sexually assaulted while incarcerated.

Vera staff provided technical assistance to help the commission develop its standards, which were submitted for public comment in 2008. The commission will incorporate public feedback into a final version of the standards and present them to the President, Congress, and the U.S. Attorney General, along with a final report and recommendations.