The Department of Justice (DOJ) Office of the Inspector General (OIG) announced today the release of a report examining the Federal Bureau of Prisons’ (BOP) contract with Spectrum Services Group, Inc. (SSGi) to provide four dental assistants at the Federal Correctional Complex in Victorville, California (FCC Victorville). As of April 2016, the BOP had exercised the fourth and final option year of the contract, and BOP payments to SSGi totaled approximately $458,455, or 58 percent of the total contract value. The contract continues through July 2017.
The DOJ OIG found that one of the four Dental Assistant positions specified in the contract was vacant for 25 of the 46 months from August 2012 through May 2016, or about 54 percent of the time. Despite these vacancies, FCC Victorville contracting personnel consistently rated SSGi “Very Good” during its annual evaluation, and the evaluations included no mention of the vacancies. During our audit, SSGi and the BOP attributed the Dental Assistant vacancies to the stringent BOP vetting process, the remote location of FCC Victorville, and the fact that the position was located within a federal prison.
Additionally, our report questions whether BOP adequately assessed its Dental Officer and Dental Assistant needs at FCC Victorville prior to contract solicitation and award. BOP dental policy states that each institution should have 1 BOP Dental Officer for every 1,000 inmates and that 1 Dental Assistant should be assigned to assist each BOP Dental Officer. Yet we noted that despite having over 5,000 inmates for most of the period from December 2012 through March 2014, FCC Victorville operated with only 4 Dental Officers and, as noted above, with only 3 Dental Assistants for an extended period of time.
We concluded that these staffing shortages have had measurable consequences at the institution, including one out of every four inmates (or nearly 1,000 inmates) being placed on a national wait list for routine dental care as of May 2016. Some inmates have been on this wait list since 2008.
Other findings in today’s report include:
- We found numerous discrepancies and inaccuracies between the sign-in log books for contractors and the Dental Assistants’ timesheets. These discrepancies indicate a physical access control issue that could affect the security of FCC Victorville facilities, and highlight the need for periodic comparison of these documents to prevent BOP from paying for hours not worked.
- SSGi did not comply with provisions of the Service Contract Labor Standards. Specifically, SSGi Dental Assistants were not paid the correct minimum wage and fringe benefits in accordance with these standards. In total, we identified $1,024 in underpayments of hourly wages and $976 in underpayments of Health and Welfare Benefits to contractor employees.
- We identified instances of BOP’s non-compliance with Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR), including of the FAR’s requirements for retaining information submitted by the contractor during the award process.
The report released today makes 9 recommendations to the BOP that address the deficiencies we identified. The BOP agreed with all 9 recommendations.
Report: Today’s report is available on the OIG’s website under “Recent Reports” and at the following link: https://oig.justice.gov/reports/2017/a1720.pdf.