Are there criminal records background check and training requirements for individuals who have regular contact with inmates, residents, or detainees, and who provide recurring services to the agency, or on behalf of the agency?  Such services are provided inside facilities pursuant to an informal arrangement, agreement, or understanding, rather than a written, formal contract or agreement.


In instances where services are provided to a PREA-covered confinement facility by another entity or individual on a recurring basis, the individuals providing those services are subject to the criminal records background check and training requirements of standards 115.17 (115.117/ 115.217/115.317) and 115.32 (115.132/115.232/115.332).

Examples of such services include, but are not limited to, the following: the provision of vocational training, counseling, general education classes, reentry planning guidance, medical or dental treatment, and/or mental/behavioral health treatment. In some cases, these services are provided pursuant to state or local law. Generally, however, they are provided under a memorandum of understanding or an intergovernmental or interagency agreement. In keeping with the Department of Justice’s broad interpretation of the term “contract” for purposes of providing interpretive guidance on the PREA standards, the individuals providing these services are required to receive training equivalent to that provided to individuals providing services under a formal contract.

July 20, 2018 Update: Some practitioners have misconstrued this guidance to mean that agency staff, contractors, and volunteers are only required to submit to an agency criminal records background check and applicable agency-required training if they have regular and recurring contracts with inmates, residents, and detainees. Instead, this guidance is intended to make a distinction between employees, contractors, and volunteers as unambiguously defined in the standards on the one hand, and service providers who have no formal direct relationship with the confining agency on the other hand.  In the former situation, these requirements apply to any person “who may have contact” with inmates. In the latter situation (covered by this FAQ), service providers having no formal or direct relationship with an agency must be subject to criminal background checks and training requirements only if they have regular or recurring contacts with inmates inside the facility.

Revised July 20, 2018 and September 28, 2015. Original posting date December 2, 2014

Background Checks,
Contract Services,