The 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 that 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.”
PREA auditors are relied on to conduct high-quality, reliable, objective, and comprehensive PREA audits; to apply the Standards fairly, consistently, and comprehensively; and to demonstrate a firm commitment to zero tolerance for sexual abuse and sexual harassment inside all confinement facilities. The value and effectiveness of any PREA audit depends largely on the skills and thoroughness of the auditor. PREA auditors must therefore be independent, objective, and credible in evaluating the extent to which confinement facilities comply with the PREA Standards, and must always exhibit the highest level of integrity and professional objectivity.
It is important to note: PREA auditors are trained and certified by DOJ but are not employed by DOJ. PREA auditors contract directly or through a third-party auditing entity with agencies to conduct PREA audits. PREA auditors represent various backgrounds and disciplines, including the corrections field, law enforcement, victim advocacy, and academia, among others.