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

PREA Standard 115.401(h) states, “The auditor shall have access to, and shall observe, all areas of the audited facilities.” In order to meet the requirements in this Standard, the site review portion of the onsite audit must include a thorough examination of the entire facility. The PREA audit site review is not a casual tour of the facility. It is an active, inquiring process that includes Standards-driven observations, tests of critical functions, and informal conversations with people confined in the facility, staff, volunteers, and contractors. During the site review, auditors must observe all areas and test all critical functions as outlined in this document. If something in the site review instructions is not applicable to the facility or it is not possible to observe or test, auditors must discuss barriers to observations/testing in the relevant Standard specific discussions and the Post-Audit Reporting Information section of the Auditor Compliance Tool.  Pursuant to the PREA Auditor Handbook (Handbook), auditors are not permitted to conduct the site review portion of the onsite audit remotely.

As required in the Handbook, auditors must take thorough notes and document their observations during the site review, including any issues identified, tests of critical functions, and any other areas or practices that may require additional discussions with individuals or proof documentation from the facility. Auditors are encouraged, but not required, to take notes using the PREA Audit Site Review Checklist.

PREA Audit Site Review Instructions 

PREA Audit Site Review Checklist

The Site Review Checklist is an optional tool that auditors may use to guide and track documentation of evidence gathered during the site review:

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.