Office Of Justice Programs Technical Assistance And Training Program
Audit Report No. 04-40
Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) has completed an audit of the Office of Justice Programs’ (OJP’s) Technical Assistance and Training Program (TA&T). The objectives of the audit were to: (1) determine if the OJP implemented internal control measures to ensure accurate financial reporting by grantees; and (2) assess the OJP’s monitoring and evaluation of grant objectives. Our audit included an audit of various headquarters functions at the OJP, and audits of 21 individual TA&T grants. We issued separate reports on 20 of the 21 grant audits. One grant report has not been issued yet because the grantee is the subject of an ongoing OIG investigation. This report consolidates the principal findings of the 21 grant audits with results of our work at the OJP headquarters.
The OJP manages the Department of Justice’s multi-faceted grant program. The OJP reported that since its inception in 1984, it has awarded more than 80,000 grants totaling more than $39 billion, for a wide variety of programs to prevent and control crime (See Appendix VIII for details). For fiscal year (FY) 2004, the OJP had a budget of $3.3 billion.
The OJP is led by the Assistant Attorney General (AAG) for Justice Programs, with a senior management team comprised of the Deputy AAG and five bureau heads. The OJP’s five bureaus and two program offices are the principal grant-making entities within the OJP. The five bureaus are: (1) the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA); (2) the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP); (3) the Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS); (4) the National Institute of Justice (NIJ); and (5) the Office for Victims of Crime (OVC). The two program offices include the Office of the Police Corps and Law Enforcement Education and the Community Capacity Development Office.
In addition to the bureaus and program offices, nine other OJP offices provide agency-wide support. They are the Office for Civil Rights; Office of the General Counsel; Office of Communications; Office of the Chief Information Officer; and Office of Management and Administration (OMA). Under the OMA are the Office of Administration, Office of Budget and Management Services, Office of the Comptroller, and the Equal Opportunity Office.
Programs developed and funded by OJP bureaus and offices seek to control drug abuse and trafficking; reduce and prevent crime; rehabilitate neighborhoods; improve the administration of justice; meet the needs of crime victims; and address problems such as gang violence, prison overcrowding, juvenile crime, and white-collar crime.
Generally, the OJP bureaus and program offices award two types of grants - formula grants and discretionary grants. Formula grants are awarded to state and local governments based on a pre-determined formula using, for example, a jurisdiction's crime rate, population, or other such factors. The states are generally required to pass through a significant portion of the formula awards to local agencies and other organizations in the form of sub-grants. Formula grant programs in areas such as drug control, juvenile justice, victims’ compensation, and victims’ assistance are administered by state agencies designated by each state's governor. Block grant funding is given to a state by the federal government to run programs within defined guidelines. The states generally allocate these funds to local organizations through sub-grants.
Discretionary grants are awarded on a competitive basis to public and private agencies, private non-profit organizations, and universities. However, certain discretionary grants are awarded on a non-competitive basis, as required by congressionally earmarked funding. Discretionary grant funds are announced in the Federal Register or through program solicitations on OJP websites. Grant applications are made directly to the OJP’s sponsoring bureau or program office. The bureaus and program offices, together with OJP’s Office of the Comptroller, are responsible for awarding and monitoring discretionary grants to ensure that they are being implemented as intended, responsive to grant goals and objectives, and compliant with statutory regulations and other policy guidelines.
In 2002, Congress approved a reorganization plan for the OJP. The plan sought to: (a) improve responsiveness, assistance, and accountability to all customers; (b) eliminate duplication and overlap; (c) ensure measurable grant and program outcomes; and (d) enhance communication, cooperation, coordination, and efficiency. The plan had eight objectives:
To accomplish the eight objectives, the OJP planned to implement the restructuring in phases. The reorganization left the OJP’s five bureaus intact, established two program offices, transferred certain offices within the OJP, combined four support offices into a new Office of Management and Administration, and transferred two offices out of the OJP.5
The OJP believes that its new organizational structure, some of which has already been implemented, should improve the efficiency and effectiveness of the grant management program. Specifically, it believes the reduction and realignment of program and support offices should improve communication and cooperation among the OJP components.
The OJP’s current organizational structure is shown on the following chart.6
Organization of the Office Of Justice Programs7
One of the OJP’s major functions is to “implement national and multi-state programs, provide technical assistance and training, and establish demonstration programs to assist state, local, and tribal governments and community groups in: reducing crime; enforcing state and local drug laws; and improving the function of the criminal justice system.”8
During FY 2003, the OJP awarded $312.5 million in grants exclusively for TA&T programs.9 As of April 28, 2004, the OJP had awarded $126.9 million in TA&T grants for FY 2004. Funding for such grants generally is awarded through discretionary grants. However, the OJP may determine, under certain conditions, that funding for existing block and formula grants can be used for TA&T programs. Congress also may mandate that funds from block and formula grants be set aside for TA&T programs.
TA&T grants are designed in accordance with the specific mandates associated with each bureau or program office, and can be customized to meet the specific needs of a state or local community. TA&T grants can also address a variety of topics. For example:
Because the OJJDP and the BJA awarded $289 million, or 92.5 percent of the $312.5 million in TA&T grants during FY 2003, our audit focused on the administration and evaluation of TA&T grants by those two bureaus.
Percentage of Fiscal Year 2003 Technical Assistance and Training
The OJJDP supports states, local communities, and tribal jurisdictions in their efforts to develop and implement effective programs for juveniles. According to OJJDP, it also strives to enable the juvenile justice system to better protect public safety, hold offenders accountable, and provide services tailored to the needs of youth and their families.
The OJJDP sponsors numerous research, program, and training initiatives; develops priorities and goals, and sets policies to guide federal juvenile justice issues; disseminates information about juvenile justice issues; and awards funds to states to support local programming nationwide through its four organizational components. To carry out its mission, the OJJDP:
The BJA’s mission is to provide leadership and assistance in support of local criminal justice strategies to achieve safe communities. According to BJA, its overall goals are to: (1) reduce and prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse; and (2) improve the functioning of the criminal justice system. To achieve these goals, BJA programs emphasize enhanced coordination and cooperation of federal, state, and local efforts. The BJA's objectives in support of these goals are to:
The BJA has three primary components: Policy, Programs, and Planning. The Policy Office provides national leadership in criminal justice policy, training, and technical assistance to further the administration of justice. It also acts as a liaison to national organizations that partner with the BJA to set policy and help disseminate information on best and promising practices. The Programs Office coordinates and administers all state and local grant programs and acts as the BJA's direct line of communication to states, territories, and tribal governments by providing assistance and coordinating resources. The Planning Office coordinates the planning, communications, and budget formulation and execution; provides overall BJA-wide coordination; and supports streamlining efforts.
The OJP’s Office of the Comptroller (OC) and program managers in each of the five bureaus have grant-monitoring responsibilities. The three general categories of monitoring activities are:12
Performance. This type of monitoring addresses the content and substance of the program. It is a qualitative review to determine grant performance, innovation, and contributions to the field. It assesses whether grant activities are consistent with the implementation plan, responsive to grant goals and objectives, and compliant with statutory regulations and other policy guidelines. Performance monitoring also involves assessing technical assistance needs and observing implementation of projects.
Compliance. This type of monitoring is coordinated between grant managers and the OC and involves administrative monitoring activities such as addressing compliance with the grant terms and conditions, reporting requirements, and completeness of documentation in the official grant file.
Financial. This type of monitoring is conducted by the OC but also involves coordination with the grant managers. It ensures compliance with financial guidelines and general accounting practices, and provides technical assistance to grantees on financial issues. The fiscal management of grant expenditures is reviewed as well.
Two prior reports by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) reviewed the OJP’s grant-monitoring activities:
Although these reports were specific to bureaus within the OJP, they contained findings similar to those of our audit, such as: