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Through a cooperative agreement between BJA and NCCD

Auditor Qualifications and Application

PREA Auditor Requirements and Process

Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standard §115.402 specifies that audits shall be conducted by “(1) a member of a correctional monitoring body that is not part of, or under the authority of, the agency (but may be part of, or authorized by, the relevant State or local government); (2) a member of an auditing entity such as an inspector general’s or ombudsperson’s office that is external to the agency; or (3) other outside individuals with relevant experience.”

The standards also require that an auditor cannot have “received financial compensation from the agency being audited (except for compensation received for conducting prior PREA audits) within three years prior to the agency’s retention of the auditor,” and the agency cannot “employ, contract with, or otherwise financially compensate the auditor for three years subsequent to the agency’s retention of the auditor, with the exception of contracting for subsequent PREA audits.”

Beyond these requirements, the qualifications to become a certified PREA auditor are as follows.

  • Three years of significant auditing, monitoring, quality assurance, investigations, or substantially similar experience with the facility type or set of standards in which the applicant seeks certification(s). When seeking multiple certifications in more than one set of standards, three years of relevant experience in one setting and at least one year of relevant experience in the second setting is adequate to qualify the applicant for dual certification.
  • A bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university, or a high school degree and equivalent career-related experience defined as five years of contemporary full-time public safety experience  in a position which requires considerable exercise of professional discretion,
  • Two references from professionals in the field related to a relevant set of standards. Individual applicants who work for a state-level auditing or compliance entity (e.g., an employee of a state inspector general’s office) and PREA coordinators may submit the endorsement of their employing entity as a substitute for references.
  • Applicants must pass a criminal background records check.
  • Complete a 40-hour PREA auditor certification training session, provided by the National PREA Resource Center (PRC).
  • Applicants must pass an examination at the end of the 40-hour training session.
  • Significant auditing experience means regular job responsibilities focused on the objective, unbiased, systematic examination of information to determine the adequacy of policies/procedures and practices, and their compliance with established standards or guidelines.  Paper-based auditing, unless it is part of a larger performance-based audit process, does NOT qualify as significant auditing experience. Paper-based auditing includes tasks such as fiscal or financial reviews, examinations of accounting practices, and oversight of the work of subordinates. Preparation for audits conducted by another person or entity also does not quality as significant auditing experience.
  • Significant quality assurance experience entails regular job responsibilities focused on monitoring and analyzing the outcomes and effectiveness of business or enterprise procedures, processes, practices, and/or operations, and includes designated responsibility for recommending and implementing changes to these procedures, processes, practices, and/or operations to enhance outcomes and effectiveness. 
  • Significant compliance experience requires regular job responsibilities focused on monitoring and/or inspecting facility operations to ensure that a regulated unit obeys specific laws, regulations, or other legal requirements, such as a court-ordered consent decree.  Compliance activities may include records reviews, and responding to internal or external requests for information. Contract monitoring, unless it is part of a larger compliance monitoring job responsibility, does not qualify as significant compliance experience. 
  • Significant investigations experience refers to regular job responsibilities focused on formal, systematic, and detailed examinations or assessments to ascertain the facts involved in a situation/incident, where there are allegations or indications of criminal or civil violations, or staff, employee, or offender misconduct.
  • Clarification of the meaning of “with the facility type or set of standards in which the applicant seeks certification(s)”: In addition to applicants who are employed by a corrections, detention, or relevant law enforcement agency or facility, PREA auditor training and certification are also open to applicants with related work experience in the justice system in which exposure to correctional agency or facility operations, and contact with relevant offender populations are regular components of the position or role. Such positions and roles include, but are not limited to, work in probation and parole, re-entry programming, other public safety employment, legal or other advocacy work, on-site technical assistance or consultation, assessments of facility conditions, or other experience that provides appropriate collateral exposure in confinement facilities.

PREA coordinators, compliance managers, and other similar functions, both state and county, will be given priority access to training spots even without all of the requisite auditing experience as long as they have been in the position for at least one year.

Individuals must complete an online application, including submission of a current resume/curriculum vitae; two letters of reference; and copies of transcripts from an accredited school or a letter from an academic institution confirming the applicant's highest diploma, degree, or academic achievement. In addition to reference letters, PRC also accepts letters from agency or facility leadership. If your jurisdiction is developing circular audit arrangements with other jurisdictions or if your leadership supports your candidacy as part of the effort to build internal PREA auditing capacity, then you may upload a letter of support from your agency executive on agency letterhead as part of your application. Note that agency-supported applicants must meet the same qualifications as any other applicant in order to qualify for PREA auditor training and certification. Agency support does not replace any other qualification requirements.

Selected applicants will be invited to attend a PREA audit certification training. Each training class is 40 hours, Monday through Friday, generally 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. All travel, lodging, and meal costs associated with attending the PREA audit certification training are the responsibility of the applicant. There is no fee associated with attending or participating in the training course itself.

Trainings will be held at various locations throughout the United States approximately every other month November 2013 through 2014. After this period, it is anticipated that additional trainings will be provided as needed on a periodic basis.

In the event that there are more applicants for each training event than seats available, invitations will be issued to develop and enhance a broad and diverse pool of certified auditors with consideration given to factors such as: geographic location, auditor availability, professional qualifications, and which set of PREA standards/type of facility the applicant will be certified to audit. 

Applications will be accepted and reviewed on a rolling basis.    

Applicants selected for a training spot will be notified via email and must accept the offer within five business days by securing a reservation via credit card with the designated training center, which will cover the costs of meals and lodging during the training event.

If you wish to be considered for an upcoming training to become a US Department of Justice-certified PREA auditor, click here to access the secure auditor application portal and begin the process.

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