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PREA Auditor Handbook

NCJ Number
Date Published
March 2021
98 pages

This PREA (Prison Rape Elimination Act) Auditor Handbook (Handbook) specifies the U.S. Justice Department’s (DOJ’s) expectations for all DOJ-certified PREA auditors; establishes requirements for auditor conduct and audit methodology; provides transparency to all stakeholders regarding the expected audit methodology; and serves as an easy-to-use reference guide for conducting high quality, objective, comprehensive, and reliable PREA audits.


The federal Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was enacted in 2003 to protect individuals from sexual abuse and sexual harassment while being held in confinement facilities. In addition to providing federal funding for research on sexual abuse in confinement facilities, PREA established a demonstration grant program for state, local, and tribal jurisdictions to establish “zero tolerance” cultures for sexual abuse and sexual harassment in confinement, and the provision of training and technical assistance in implementing national standards to be developed under a PREA mandate. DOJ published the final PREA Standards in the Federal Register on June 20, 2017, becoming effective on August 20, 2012. They apply to adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, lockups, and community confinement facilities. The first 3-year audit cycle began on August 20, 2013. The PREA Resource Center works with the PREA Management Office to process and train PREA auditor candidates; provides additional training opportunities and continuing education resources for DOJ-certified PREA auditors; responds to auditor questions and requests for assistance; and continues to develop and improve audit tools and resources for PREA auditors. The main sections of this PREA Auditor Handbook provide guidance on contracting for a PREA audit; the auditor code of conduct; auditor certification requirements; PREA audit methodology; audit oversight; maintaining, losing, or giving up certification; and auditor resources. Appended Auditor Certification Agreement

Date Published: March 1, 2021