In 2003, while John was still in elementary school, Congress passed the Prison Rape Elimination Act, now usually known as PREA. It was intended to make experiences like his far less likely. But like many ambitious pieces of legislation, its promise has proved difficult to realize. The law required studies of the problem that took far longer than initially intended, and adoption of the guidelines they produced has been painfully slow, resting on the competence and dedication of particular employees. PREA has not been a complete failure, but it is also far from delivering on its promise, and John’s story illustrates many of the hurdles that have impeded the law and still lie in its path.