Auditor qualifications

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.”

The Department of Justice seeks professionals who are committed to eliminating sexual abuse in confinement and who understand correctional operations; have strong analytical skills; can apply complex federal regulations to varying sets of facts; have the capacity to effectively interview correctional and administrative staff, persons in confinement, advocates, and others; and the skill to produce quality written work to document and convey audit findings to agencies and facilities. 

To identify individuals who may have these core skills, the Department of Justice has established these threshold qualification requirements to be considered for PREA auditor certification:

Minimum experience:

  • Three years of significant, recent auditing, compliance monitoring, quality assurance, investigations, or substantially similar experience with the facility type or the set of Standards in which the applicant seeks certification(s); OR
  • Three years of significant experience working to implement PREA as a PREA Coordinator or PREA Compliance Manager with the facility type or set of Standards in which the applicant seeks certification(s); OR
  • Three years of other significant professional experience related to safety in confinement facilities accompanied by a demonstrated expertise regarding facility operations with the facility type or set of Standards in which the applicant seeks certification(s).

Based on an applicant’s experience and work history, they may train and be certified to conduct audits of adult facilities (including prisons, jails, community confinement facilities, and lockups), juvenile facilities, or both types of facilities. Auditors are only authorized to conduct audits for the facility type for which they are certified. 

When seeking dual certification to audit both adult and juvenile facilities, 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 recent full-time public safety, law enforcement, or corrections experience in a supervisory position.

Other admission requirements:

Two professional references submitted via the PRC’s reference collection process addressing the applicant’s key competencies in facility operations knowledge, experience with PREA, analytical skills, writing skills, and commitment to sexual safety for those in confinement. Applicants will also be asked to submit contact information of employer(s)/supervisor(s) who can verify the applicant's minimum experience and current employment (as applicable).

Select applicants should expect to participate in a telephone interview.

Additional detail regarding minimum experience requirements:

Significant auditing experience means regular job responsibilities focused on the objective, unbiased, systematic examination of operations/performance to determine the adequacy of policies, procedures, and practices, and their compliance with established Standards or guidelines. Paper-based auditing, unless part of a larger performance-based audit process, does NOT qualify as significant auditing experience. Paper-based auditing includes tasks such as fiscal or financial reviews, examinations of accounting practices, and oversight of the work of subordinates. Preparation for audits conducted by another person or entity also does not qualify as significant auditing experience.

Significant quality assurance experience entails regular job responsibilities focused on monitoring and analyzing the outcomes and effectiveness of business or enterprise procedures, processes, practices, and/or operations, and includes designated responsibility for recommending and implementing changes to these procedures, processes, practices, and/or operations to enhance outcomes and effectiveness.

Significant compliance monitoring experience requires regular job responsibilities focused on monitoring and/or inspecting operations to ensure that a public agency or other regulated unit obeys specific laws, regulations, or other legal requirements, such as a court-ordered consent decree or other enforcement mechanism. Compliance activities may include records reviews and responding to internal or external requests for information. Contract monitoring, unless part of a larger compliance monitoring job responsibility, does not qualify as significant compliance experience.

Significant investigations experience refers to regular job responsibilities focused on formal, systematic, and detailed examinations or assessments to ascertain the facts involved in a situation/incident, where there are allegations or indications of criminal or civil violations, or staff, employee, or offender misconduct.

Significant experience working to implement PREA as a PREA Coordinator or PREA Compliance Manager requires regular job duties advancing PREA implementation efforts within an agency or facility.

Significant professional experience related to safety in confinement facilities, accompanied by demonstrated expertise regarding facility operations, refers to regular and focused efforts on issues related to the safety and well-being of inmates in correctional or detention facilities. Because this experience will not necessarily come from in-facility employment (e.g., technical assistance provider), this experience type must be accompanied in the application by demonstrated expertise in facility operations.

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 other 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
  • Other settings that provide appropriate exposure in confinement facilities