Evidence collection components of the audit instrument

The audit instrument also includes three evidence collection components: the site review instructions, the interview protocols, and the checklist of documentation. Whether an auditor conducts an audit using the Online Audit System (OAS) or the paper instruments, they must use these evidence collection components to conduct a proper audit. In the OAS, auditors can find hyperlinks to the evidence collection components in the “Support” tab at the top of the screen. All evidence collection components can also be found on the PRC website below. 

Instructions for PREA audit site review

The PREA audit site review is a critically important part of the audit process that allows the auditor to observe, test, and review operations, core functions, and other facility practices in real time during the onsite phase of the audit. The site review is not a casual tour of the facility. It is an active process by which the auditor observes all areas, tests critical functions, and has conversations with staff and inmates to determine whether, and the extent to which, the audited facility’s practices demonstrate compliance with the Standards.

The PREA audit site review instructions provide basic guidance concerning the details of the site review, including: how to approach review of the facility’s physical plant and ensure that all areas are accessed and reviewed; how to assess a facility’s surveillance technology and other electronic tools and information, where relevant; how to review and assess the facility’s privacy practices (e.g., showering protocols, toileting procedures, cross-gender announcements); how to test critical systems and functions (e.g., intake screening, classification, education, phones/kiosks operation, reporting processes); and how to use the process of informal conversations with inmates and staff during the site review to supplement interview and documentation review findings.  

Interview protocols

The PREA Standards require auditors to conduct interviews with inmates, residents, and detainees, as well as staff, supervisors, and administrators. The audit instrument includes interview protocols for the various roles and positions that require an interview. The DOJ has clarified the basic requirements of the interview process, including minimum numbers, selection/sampling criteria, and privacy considerations, which are discussed in detail in the PREA Auditor Handbook.  

Each interview protocol is designed to elicit information about facility practices that relate to specific PREA Standards, and more general attitudes about preventing, detecting, and responding to sexual abuse and sexual harassment in confinement. Auditors are not limited to the interview questions included in the protocols; rather, these questions are designed to serve as a starting point for eliciting information about the facility’s compliance with the PREA Standards. Auditors are strongly encouraged to use the interview protocols as a baseline only, and to ask additional questions to probe compliance issues.

It is important to note that some of the interview protocols provided below include multiple protocols under one title. For example, specialized staff includes approximately 25 discrete roles and positions that should be interviewed as part of every audit (the auditor should explain in their audit reporting why any particular roles or positions were not interviewed). All audit stakeholders should be aware that the interview process is extensive and is a key evidence-gathering obligation of the auditor. Adequate time should be allowed for the auditor to conduct thorough interviews as required by the handbook.

Adult Prison and Jail interview protocols:

Lockups interview protocols:

Community Confinement interview protocols:

Juvenile Facility interview protocols:


Checklist of documentation

The checklist of documentation provides a non-exhaustive list of the documentation that the auditor should request from the audited agency and facility as part of an audit. The names and formats used by corrections, detention, and law enforcement for record-keeping usually vary from agency to agency, so auditors are strongly encouraged to approach the checklist of documentation as a helpful resource to think about the kinds of records, files, logs, and other materials that should be reviewed during an audit. Auditors are also strongly encouraged to begin early – during the pre-onsite phase of the audit – to understand the audited agency’s and facility’s way of naming and identifying documents and records.