The United States Marshals Serviceís Cooperative Agreement Program

Audit Report 05-28
June 2005
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix VI
USMSís Response to the Draft Report

The text in this Appendix was prepared by the auditee and uncorrected by the OIG.

MEMORANDUM TO:   Guy K. Zimmerman
Assistant Inspector General for Audit
Office of the Inspector General
FROM:   Benigno G. Reyna
SUBJECT:   OIG Draft Audit Report: The United States Marshals Service's Cooperative Agreement Program (CAP)

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the subject draft audit report. Our comments and proposed corrective actions are detailed below:

Recommendation 1: Develop specific plans for securing detention space in the event that CAP funding is not restored in future appropriations. At a minimum, the plans should address:

  • Whether existing CAP sites plan to continue housing USMS detainees through an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) when their CAP agreement ends, and at what cost; and

  • What alternative facilities will be available to house detainees if the CAP sites decide to discontinue housing detainees when their CAP agreement ends, and at what cost.

USMS Response: (Agree) The CAP has been successful in helping USMS acquire guaranteed bed space in court cities, while also enabling the local governments to expand or improve their jails. In working cooperatively with the state and local governments over the years, the USMS has established long-standing working relationships and goodwill with local and federal agencies. As a result, the local governments are often willing to continue to house USMS prisoners when the CAP agreements expire. However, in some cases, losing bed space at the end of a CAP agreement cannot be avoided, even if additional CAP funding is offered to the local government.

We believe we have adequate procedures in place to replace bed space as current CAP agreements expire. Historically, the district offices search for additional bed space in local jails and enter into new IGAs. While we always locate bed space to house USMS prisoners, it may be located further from the federal court city than is ideal.

To assist USMS districts in locating needed bed space, Prisoner Operations staff at USMS Headquarters maintain data on available bed space in all USMS districts. This is accomplished effectively through the annual detention survey conducted by the Witness Security and Prisoner Operations Division (WPD). For example, as part of the survey, all USMS district offices were asked to respond to the following:

"For the purpose of contingency planning, are there additional local jails in your area with available beds that could house prisoners for your district or other districts experiencing emergency bed space shortages? (Please list name, location, number of beds, and distance from court, whether or not the facility transports, and contact person at facility.)"

In light of OIG's focus on expiring CAP agreements, and to address OIG's recommendation, a new question will be added to the next detention survey, as follows:

"Are there any CAP agreements in your district which will expire in the next 3 years? If so, will the jail continue to house USMS prisoners after the CAP guarantee has expired? If not, where do you plan to house these prisoners after the CAP guarantee has expired? Please provide anticipated costs, if known."

District responses to this question will provide the data necessary to resolve Recommendation 1. Additionally, it should be noted that USMS is participating in a working group with the Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP), Federal Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (BICE), and the Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT) to establish new procedures for awarding IGAs. It is anticipated that local governments will be more receptive to the revised IGA process than the current system and, as a result, additional space will become available for longer periods of time. The working group has established a deadline of October I, 2005 to implement the new procedures.

Recommendation 2: Remedy the questioned cost associated with the $739,540 in CAP funds provided for INS CAP agreements that was not rescinded by Congress.

Recommendation 3: Remedy the questioned cost associated with the $250,579 difference between the available balance for CAP agreements at the end of FY 2004 based on the USMS's records ($2,441,848) and the available balance for CAP agreements at the end of FY 2004 based on documentation provided by the OFDT ($2,191,269).

USMS Response to Recommendations 2 and 3: (Agree) The Witness Security and Prisoner Operations Division, in concert with the OFDT, will perform an in-depth reconciliation of the reported balances. The results of the reconciliation will be provided under separate cover immediately after completion.

If you need additional information or clarification, please contact Mike Urenko, Acting Chief, Programs and Assistance Branch, Witness Security and Prisoner Operations Division, at 202-307-9749.

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