Important information regarding the PREA audit process
The Department of Justice will certify qualified individuals to conduct PREA audits. In order to conduct a PREA audit, individuals must possess a Department of Justice PREA auditor certification. PREA auditors will utilize the PREA audit instrument(s) to conduct PREA audits.
The Department of Justice and the PREA Resource Center will not be involved with the contracting, scheduling, or fee schedules associated with PREA audits.
Certified PREA auditors will perform the PREA audits as an independent contractor unless they have or create an arrangement to conduct audits through another entity, such as their current employer, an external governmental entity, the American Correctional Association (ACA), or other accreditation body.
The PREA audit will be performed pursuant to a contractual or similar agreement between a Certified PREA Auditor and the agency requesting an audit. This agreement should address all aspects of the audit, including scheduling and all fees, costs, and expenses associated with the work performed.
Unaffiliated PREA auditors should consider whether or not professional liability insurance is appropriate.
Time needed to conduct a PREA audit will vary based on a variety of factors including facility size, agency readiness, and record keeping. PREA auditors should anticipate that an audit of a medium-sized facility will take at least five working days, including approximately three days of work at the facility touring the physical plant; interviewing staff, contractors, and volunteers; interviewing inmates/detainees/residents; and reviewing facility records.
Facilities will be required to post a notice of the audit in each housing unit of the facility to be audited. This notice should be in place six weeks prior to the audit, and must include an address at which the auditor can receive confidential correspondence prior to the onsite audit activities and through the issuance of the final report. This address can be a P.O. Box.
If the PREA auditor determines that the facility “Does not meet standard” with respect to any standard provision, the auditor and the agency will jointly develop a corrective action plan. Within 180 days, the auditor is required to verify implementation of the corrective action plan, issue a final determination, and complete a final PREA audit report. If no corrective action plan is required, the auditor will provide a final report at the end of the PREA audit. Agencies are required to post their PREA Audit Final Reports on their agency web site.
PREA Appeals Notice
The National PREA Standards provide an opportunity for an agency to lodge 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).
Under the National PREA Standards, the only relief that an agency can receive from a favorable decision by DOJ following an appeal is that the agency may commission a re-audit by an auditor who is mutually agreed upon by the agency and DOJ. See 28 C.F.R. § 115.405(b).
Appeals must be lodged within 90 days of the auditor’s final determination. See 28 C.F.R. § 115.405(a). Within the same timeframe—90 days after the auditor issues the Final Report—the agency must publish the Final 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 if the Final Report is contested and under appeal.
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 Report.
An appeal must be 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. The written appeal should be clearly labeled as a PREA Audit Appeal and sent to: PREA Management Office, Bureau of Justice Assistance, Office of Justice Programs, 810 7th Street, NW, Washington, DC, 20531. Alternatively, the written appeal may be emailed to the PREA Management Office at PREACompliance@usdoj.gov. If the appeal is emailed, please include the words “PREA Audit Appeal” in the Subject line. DOJ will carefully consider all relevant information before issuing a PREA Audit Appeal Determination, which will be issued in a timely manner.
In the event that 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 from a re-audit.
Updated October 22, 2014.