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New Tools to Help Measure State Compliance with Prison Rape Elimination Act

CAMBRIDGE, MA—A new online system expected to streamline the process of auditing states’ compliance with the Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) was introduced today by its developer Abt Associates in collaboration with the PREA Resource Center (PRC) and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.  The new system increases transparency and promises greater efficiency for auditors and correctional and confinement facilities as they complete the entire audit process.
Effective as of August 2012, the Department of Justice’s PREA standards outline requirements for preventing, detecting, and responding to sexual abuse in confinement facilities. Confinement facilities must be audited at least every three years, with one third of each facility type audited each year to be considered compliant with the PREA standards.  According to estimates released in 2003 with enactment of PREA, at least 13 percent of the inmates in the U.S.—or roughly 200,000 inmates—had been sexually assaulted in prison, with many inmates suffering repeated assaults.
The PREA Online Audit System (OAS) enables correctional agencies and confinement facilities to electronically upload critical agency or facility information to a secure site so that auditors can review this information prior to their audit and later complete an audit report with their findings and provide recommendations for corrective actions.
“The online system provides an alternative to the paper version of these audits, helping to ease the document management burden for both facilities and auditors,” said Abt Associates’ Christina Dyous, who leads the project.  “The user-friendly system is a secure way to manage workflow, improve communication and coordination, and minimize the burden of audits.”

The OAS has instruments for both agency and facility audits, and for each of the facility types: adult prisons and jails, juvenile facilities, lockups (housing detainees overnight), and community confinement facilities.
“Abt has worked with the PRC since 2010 to develop measures of compliance with the national standards, audit instrumentation and procedures, and develop and deliver an auditor training and certification program,” Dyous said.  “The launch of the Online Audit System marks a significant milestone for the project.”
For more information on PREA, visit
About Abt Associates
Abt Associates is a mission-driven, global leader in research, evaluation and program implementation in the fields of health, social and environmental policy, and international development. Known for its rigorous approach to solving complex challenges, Abt Associates is regularly ranked as one of the top 20 global research firms and one of the top 40 international development innovators. The company has multiple offices in the U.S. and program offices in more than 40 countries.
Caroline Broder
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