The National PREA Standards provide an opportunity for an agency to file an appeal with the Department of Justice (DOJ) regarding any specific audit finding that the agency believes to be incorrect. See 28 C.F.R. §115.405(a).
- An appeal must be made in writing and must contain the specific rationale for the disagreement with the audit finding(s), including any additional factual information or documents that should be considered. Pursuant to Standard 115.401(e), “The agency shall bear the burden of demonstrating compliance with the Standards.” To be considered by DOJ, all documentation and information submitted as part of the appeal must have been made available to the auditor during the relevant audit.
- The written appeal must be emailed to the PREA Management Office at [email protected]. If the appeal is emailed, include the words “PREA audit appeal” in the subject line. If the appeal documentation includes sensitive information, such as personally identifiable information (PII) or personal health information (PHI), please inform the PREA Management Office so that further instruction can be provided on how to submit the information securely. Do not send information containing PII or PHI via email.
- Appeals must be lodged within 90 days of the auditor’s final determination (see 28 C.F.R. §115.405(a)). Within the same 90-day timeframe the agency must publish the final audit report on its website if it has one, or otherwise must make it readily available to the public. See 28 C.F.R. §115.403(f). In the public notice, the agency may note where the final report is contested and under appeal.
- DOJ will carefully consider all relevant information before issuing a PREA audit appeal determination.
- Under the national PREA Standards, the DOJ may determine that the agency has stated a good cause for re-evaluation. In this case, the agency may commission a re-audit by an auditor mutually agreed upon by the agency and DOJ. See 28 C.F.R. §115.405(b).
- The re-audit will be limited to the Standards that are the subject of an appeal. The cost of the re-audit will be borne by the agency. The appeal will not result in a modification of the initial auditor’s final audit report.
- If an agency’s appeal is successful, and the agency submits to a re-audit, the findings of the re-audit shall be considered final (see 28 C.F.R. §115.405(c)). There is no further right of appeal following a re-audit.