The United States Marshals Serviceís Cooperative Agreement Program
Audit Report 05-28
Office of the Inspector General
We provided the draft report to both the USMS and OFDT for comment. The USMS response, included in this report as Appendix VI, agrees with each of our recommendations and proposes corrective action sufficient to resolve the recommendations. Our analysis of the status of the recommendations begins on page 49 of this appendix.
The OFDT response is included in this report as Appendix VII. The OFDT does not comment on our recommendations and, instead, focuses on what it considers to be mischaracterizations of information provided to us by OFDT staff. After reviewing the OFDTís response and our contemporaneous records of conversation with OFDT staff, we believe the report accurately portrays the information provided to us during interviews on January 11, 2005, with the Director of Operations and the Budget Director of the OFDT. The following five paragraphs discuss the current positions taken by the OFDT in its response to the draft audit report and our analysis of those positions.
The OFDT response states that simply because a CAP agreement expires does not necessarily mean the corresponding IGA cannot be continued. However, our report does not say that IGAs cannot be continued when a CAP agreement expires. Instead, we report that the USMS provided no evidence to show that it had performed research or analyses to determine: (1) whether state and local governments with expiring CAP agreements would continue housing prisoners, and at what cost, through IGAs in the absence of CAP funds; and (2) alternate locations where detainees could be housed, and at what cost, if current CAP sites decide to discontinue housing USMS detainees when CAP funding ends. Because the USMS has not thoroughly researched and addressed these issues, we concluded that the USMS cannot assure that adequate detention space, at a reasonable cost, will be available to meet detention needs as existing CAP agreements expire. In response to our recommendation, the USMS has now agreed to conduct the appropriate research.
The OFDT also states in its response that, while we noted a lack of analyses on CAP agreements, it has in fact conducted such analyses. The OFDT discusses, as anecdotal examples, two reviews of individual agreements. When interviewed during the audit, OFDT officials did not provide any analyses on either the cost effectiveness of CAP agreements or the ability of the USMS to meet detention needs at a reasonable cost with IGAs. While the two reviews cited by the OFDT are helpful, those reviews alone are not meaningful for 180 CAP agreements currently in place, provide no basis for determining if CAP agreements are cost effective, and provide no insight on the USMSís ability to meet its detention needs at a reasonable cost with IGAs.
Also in its response, the OFDT states that the majority of prior expired CAP agreements still have IGAs in place. While we do not have sufficient data to verify this statement, recent OFDT policy changes may significantly affect the USMSís ability to continue housing detainees at facilities with expiring CAP agreements. The OFDT issued a policy, effective February 4, 2005, stating that, as a temporary measure, no new IGAs can be awarded and no existing IGAs can be extended at an increased price because of detention funding shortfalls. Until and unless additional detention funding is obtained and this policy restriction is lifted, state and local jurisdictions may be more likely to discontinue housing detainees when CAP agreements expire.
The OFDT also states that there has been no indication that jurisdictions providing bed space through a CAP agreement would not continue to provide the space under an IGA not associated with a CAP agreement. As noted in our audit, neither the OFDT nor the USMS had contacted the jurisdictions with expiring CAP agreements to determine whether the jurisdictions would continue housing USMS detainees after the CAP agreements expire. The OFDT response seems to indicate that it is incumbent upon the jurisdictions to notify the USMS or the OFDT of such decisions. However, the USMS or OFDT must take the lead in this matter and the USMSís proposed action regarding surveys addresses our concern.
The OFDT response also suggests the report does not accurately reflect what we were told by OFDT staff in regard to the need for the CAP in the future. The OFDT officials we interviewed told us that detention space needs, in the absence of CAP funding, can be met with IGAs. They also said that the USMS has in the past relied too heavily on the CAP program to provide bed space for its detainees. The Director of Operations said that the CAP is not worth the money because jail officials already have an incentive to house USMS detainees through IGAs. He also said that, because the duration of a CAP agreement is typically 15 to 20 years, the USMS is reluctant to house its detainees in another jail that may have a lower per diem rate because they have invested funds in the CAP facility. The Budget Director said that the CAP program should be funded but not at the level requested by the USMS. The OFDT officials presented these statements as accurate representations of their position on the CAP program, and we did not remove the comments from the context of the interview.
We also provided portions of the draft report to the JMD for a review of pre-decisional budget information contained in the report. The JMD expressed no concerns about the budget data but informally suggested some minor wording changes, which we have incorporated in the budget discussion on page 10 of the report.
The status of the recommendations and the action necessary to close the recommendations are presented below.