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.”
Standards 115.401(c) and (d) 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 both Adult and Juvenile certifications, an applicant must demonstrate at least three years of relevant experience in Juvenile settings or with Juvenile populations and at least one year of relevant experience in Adult settings. Please be aware that experience in an adult prison, jail, or lockup that houses youthful inmates or youthful detainees does NOT qualify as experience with juvenile populations or juvenile settings.
- 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.
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 confinement 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,
- Offender re-entry,
- Law enforcement and public safety,
- Legal positions, including prosecution and defense,
- Inmate and victim advocacy;
- On-site technical assistance or consultations related to corrections and/or conditions of confinement, and
- Other settings that provide appropriate collateral exposure in confinement facilities.