United States Marshals Service Intergovernmental Service Agreement for Detention Facilities with the District of Columbia Jail, Washington D.C.

Audit Report GR-30-06-002
March 2006
Office of the Inspector General

Executive Summary

The United States Marshals Service (USMS) assumes custody of individuals arrested by all federal agencies. It is responsible for the housing and transportation of federal detainees from the time they are brought into federal custody until they are either acquitted or incarcerated.1 Each day, the USMS houses more than 47,000 detainees throughout the United States. In order to house these pre-sentenced detainees, the USMS executes contracts known as Intergovernmental Service Agreements (IGA) with state and local governments to rent jail space. According to the USMS, 75 percent of the detainees in USMS custody are detained in state, local, or private facilities.

An IGA is a formal agreement between the USMS and a state or local government to house federal prisoners at a fixed jail day rate based on actual and allowable costs for the same level of service provided to state or local prisoners in a specific facility.2 To request either a jail day rate, or an increase to the current jail day rate, the USMS requires the local governments to complete and submit a Form USM-243, Cost Sheet for Detention Services (Cost Sheet), to the appropriate USMS district office. The USMS district office then forwards the Cost Sheet to USMS Headquarters for evaluation and approval.

The USMS awarded the District of Columbia Department of Corrections (DCDOC) IGA number 16-00-0016 on September 22, 2000. According to the IGA, prisoners are housed in the DC Jail at a rate of $84.39 per jail day. In June and December 2004 the USMS modified the IGA to include reimbursement for guard transportation services at a rate of $24.42 and $31.03 a day, respectively. According to the DCDOC’s accounting records for Fiscal Year (FY) 2004, the DCDOC was paid $26,025,630 for the housing, transportation, and external medical expenses of federal detainees under the IGA.

The purpose of the audit was to determine if the allowable costs for the detention and care of inmates under OMB Circular A-87, “Cost Principles for State, Local and Indian Tribal Government” supported the jail day rate.3 Based on our audit of actual costs and daily population, we determined that the DCDOC’s records supported the rate used to bill the USMS.


  1. Federal detainees are generally individuals housed in jails awaiting trial, sentencing, or immigration hearings or removal proceedings.

  2. A jail day is the equivalent of one person incarcerated for one day and begins on the date of arrival, but does not include the date of departure.

  3. For more information on our objectives, scope, and methodology see Appendix I.


Return to OIG Home Page