Department of Justice (OIG) Inspector General Michael E. Horowitz announced today the release of a report examining the United States Marshals Services (USMS) $650 million contract with The GEO Group, Inc. (GEO) to operate the Robert A. Deyton Detention Facility (Deyton) in Lovejoy, Georgia. The audit covers the period of contract performance from January 1, 2016, through December 31, 2019.
The DOJ Office of the Inspector General (OIG) found that the USMS needs to improve its administration of the contract. The specific findings in the report release today include:
- USMS Should Hold the Contractor Accountable for Staffing Shortages. The USMS did not hold GEO accountable for failure to staff the facility at the required levels during January 2018 through March 2019. We found that GEO did not consistently maintain the required 90 percent staffing level for detention security services, did not consistently fill essential positions, and had numerous positions vacant for more than 120 days. Despite this, the USMS did not issue any invoice deductions. We estimated that, for the period January 2018 through December 2019, the USMS could have taken invoice deductions of more than $3.1 million for positions that were vacant for more than the 120 days specified in the contract.
- USMS Did Not Follow Processes for Price Reduction Proposals. The USMS did not follow its established process for preparing contract price reduction proposals for the GEO contract, and did not accurately calculate the proposed reductions. As a result, the USMS’s processing of reduction proposals was delayed, and as of March 24, 2020 it did not make decisions on reductions proposed between May 2019 and October 2019.
- USMS Should Modify all Contracts for the Proper Return of Excess Commissary Funds. The USMS does not have a procedure to ensure that substantial excess commissary funds are used solely to benefit detainees, consistent with the terms of the contract. The Deyton Facility had a persistent and significant balance in its commissary fund, and we believe that GEO should have either reduced commissary prices for detainees or more promptly used the excess funds to purchase items benefiting detainees. The contract also does not specify how accumulated excess commissary funds will be disposed at the end of the contract.
- USMS Should Place Adequate Control to Ensure Employees Involved in Detainee Transportation are Properly Trained. The USMS did not ensure that all of GEO’s transportation officers had completed training courses as required by federal law. Consequently, transportation officers were not fully trained, increasing the risk of delays or a major accident or other transportation event for which an officer is not prepared.
Today’s report makes 10 recommendations to assist the USMS in establishing control to prevent and detect GEO’s noncompliance with the terms and conditions of the contract. The USMS agreed with all 10 recommendations.