The United States Marshals Services' Management of the Justice Prisoner
and Alien Transportation System

Audit Report 07-01
October 2006
Office of the Inspector General

Appendix XIII
Auditee’s Response

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

  United States Department of Justice
United States Marshals Service
Office of the Director
Washington, DC 20530-1000

September 6, 2006

MEMORANDUM TO:   Guy K. Zimmerman
Assistant Inspector General
  for Audit
FROM:   [signed]
John F. Clark
SUBJECT:   The United States Marshals Service’s Management of the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS)

The subject audit report issued August 8, 2006, identified 15 recommendations. Attached is the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS) response to these recommendations.

If you have any questions regarding JPATS responses to your recommendations, please contact Jim Ellis, Acting Assistant Director, JPATS, at (816) 467-1903.


cc: Yvonne A. Athanasaw
Senior Management Analyst
Office of Inspection
Audit Office
United States Marshals Service

Richard P. Theis
DOJ Audit Liaison
Assistant Director
Audit Liaison Group
Justice Management Division

Stacia Hylton
Federal Detention Trustee
Office of the Federal Detention Trustee

JPATS Response to OIG Recommendations

  1. Work with the JEC to explore the possibility of instituting a hybrid budget model to fund JPATS through both an annual appropriation and payments from customers based on usage. (Page 32)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. JPATS supports the OIG recommendation that our funding stream be changed from the revolving fund to a hybrid funding model.

    Under the Revolving Fund, JPATS is providing a service. The customers, (USMS, ICE and the BOP) determine what their requirements are to accomplish their mission. JPATS and the customers agree on what service will be provided. With this information, JPATS produces a unit rate. The premise of the revolving fund is that the business concept of management will assist JPATS to offer the highest quality service at the lowest cost possible while not jeopardizing aviation safety or prisoner security. The relationship between the customers and JPATS is focused on the accomplishment of the customer’s mission and assuring equality among participating agencies regardless of the agency’s financial contributions.

    JPATS believes that with a hybrid funding concept, JPATS could accomplish better scheduling and utilization of aircraft without concern for receipt of revenue or debate on which agency’s mission had a higher priority. Simply put, JPATS management believes the scheduling of aircraft and prisoner/alien movements should be based on the safest, most efficient and cost effective methodology possible without concern for budgetary issues of the individual customers.

    Another area of concern is the availability of adequate funding for the operation under the revolving fund. JPATS receives funding through the use of reimbursable agreements (RA), which should be signed prior to services being performed for our customers. For several years, JPATS did not receive these agreements from one of our principal customers on a timely basis.

    In addition, if the fixed costs for JPATS were covered by an appropriation, the variable costs could be covered by a rate which would be much lower than current rates and thus attract additional customers. Maximum utilization of the aircraft/resources and economies of scale would provide a much better value to existing customers as well.

    JPATS will address this topic with the JEC at the next committee meeting. One of the challenges that must be overcome within the committee is the issue of transitioning a certain amount of funding from the customer agencies to the JPATS organization (removing it from their appropriation base and placing in the JPATS account). Another hurdle is that this will require Congressional approval. Congress will need to provide a full level of funding to JPATS, even in a time of declining budgets, so that JPATS can operate at current levels. There is concern that individual agencies might be inclined to reduce prisoner movements in favor of higher priorities as budgets get tighter. This could prove very disruptive, particularly in terms of managing prison overcrowding. By providing a direct appropriation to JPATS at the same or increased level, it would ensure a continuity of services that are properly funded, rather than leaving JPATS completely dependent upon reimbursements from customers.

  2. Ensure that JPATS performs long-term capacity planning, including the development of a forecasting model to project future needs in prisoner and alien transport and the resources to meet those needs. (Page 33)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. JPATS recognizes the importance of strategic planning for the long term planning and development of the business to meet future needs in prisoner and detainee transportation. JPATS was directly involved in the November 2005 strategic planning working group that developed the current U.S. Marshals Service Strategic Plan. JPATS also developed goals in support of the OMB Program Assessment Rating Tool (PART) and the Government Performance Results Act (GPRA). Actual results of these goals are reported to the Department on a quarterly basis and include an explanation of variances.

    In 2004, the JEC formed a committee to plan additional future years’ capacity. JPATS intends to utilize the results of this committee to build a long term planning document to suit the needs of our customer agencies. JPATS must have input from our customer agencies in order to determine any future requirements. At this time, JPATS has no input into the customer agencies’ budget process and we are dependent on their funding levels to accomplish our workload. JPATS also requires a level of future commitment from our clientele to determine the best business model to forecast the current and future resource requirements to accomplish our mission with the highest level of expertise and at the lowest cost. Without this information from our customer agencies, JPATS will not be able to position itself for maximum utilization of its resources and to take advantage of possible efficiencies.

    In the area of asset planning, JPATS has a draft directive to address short and long range asset acquisition planning. This project will be tested during Fiscal Year 2007. The Budget Office is currently in the process of drafting a memo to all JPATS Departments to explain the planning, procuring and management of assets as well as soliciting their assistance and expertise in developing the preliminary plan. This effort will assist JPATS in meeting the anticipated Fiscal Year 2008 submission of OMB Exhibit 300.

  3. Work through the JEC to revise the flight schedules of ICE to reflect actual needs and improve the efficient use of available seats. (Page 33)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. JPATS agrees that revising flight schedules directly impacts the ability of JPATS to reflect the actual needs and improves the efficient use of available seats. JPATS assumes this recommendation specifically refers to changing to “night loop” flight in Mesa, AZ to a daytime flight. JPATS has requested ICE consider changing the “night loop” to a daytime flight without success. JPATS will approach ICE again with this request, citing the OIG recommendation.

  4. Replace its short-term leases for large aircraft with less expensive long-term leases. (Page 33)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. JPATS agrees that long-term leases are less expensive. The current short-term lease (three-year) contracts resulted from lengthy protests sustained against the government during two previous long-term lease solicitations. JPATS has legal authority to lease aircraft up to ten years and is actively pursuing a follow-on long-term aircraft lease arrangement, with the assistance of DOJ procurement staff. It is anticipated that this lease will be for one base year and up to nine option years, as determined by OMB Circular A-11. The ability of JPATS’ customer base to commit to this long-term arrangement will be an essential component in its success.

  5. Work through the JEC to encourage ICE to schedule overseas flights in APSS. (Page 33)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. JPATS agrees ICE overseas flights should be recorded in APSS. These flights can currently be entered into APSS. JPATS will continue to seek cooperation from ICE personnel to implement this procedure.

  6. Provide security crew members with online editing access to APSS for updating the flight manifest. (Page 33)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. We have looked into this extensively in the past and will continue to monitor new technology and pricing. We would point out, however, the following caveats:

    1. To connect to APSS requires users to pass multiple secure logons, which is more time consuming than a phone call. Doing this procedure on the ground will not save time.
    2. Currently having internet connection in-flight is cost prohibitive.
    3. There are several steps taken when an inmate is removed or added to a manifest that must be handled by a scheduling coordinator. The flight crew on the ground does not have all pertinent information to properly update APSS and give proper notification to USMS districts or BOP institutions.

  7. Develop a tracking system to ensure that pilot files contain current copies of their licenses, medical certificates, and training records. (Page 56)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. The JPATS training officer has a computer program which allows him to monitor flight physical, training due dates and changes to licenses. The program is set up to flag flight physical due dates (30 days prior) and recurrent training due dates (also 30 days). The training officer then notifies the pilot in question, who is responsible for the timely completion of medical review. A tentative training is generally set up with the training facility up to one year in advance. Standing instruction requires that copies of all documents relative to training, changes in licenses and/or flight physical completion is forwarded to OKC for the master file.

  8. Create a method to monitor the duty hours of flight and security crews to ensure that all crew members receive adequate rest between flight assignments. (Page 56)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. Flight Following (Communications Center for JPATS Aircraft), the Pilot-in-Command, and the FOIC are currently responsible for adhering to the Flight Operations Procedures Manual and all associated policies and procedures. By asking for Flight Following concurrence on all matters dealing with flight crew duty and flight time, a check and balance is created to ensure compliance with appropriate flight time limits and rest period restrictions. JPATS will consider whether inserting flight time and duty time into the JCAS system (after program changes are complete) will achieve the objective of this recommendation. JPATS will report back on the outcome of this consideration in the next reporting cycle.

  9. Streamline the process of issuing waivers of crew rest by combining the waivers for the flight and security crews, and creating a mechanism to follow up verbal waivers with a written record for retention at a central location. (Page 56)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. Our Information Technology personnel will place our waiver forms on the ‘S’ drive, making them available to the entire organization. The forms could be filled out online with electronic signature and sent to a GS-15 JPATS manager by e-mail for consideration. By doing this, the completed document could more easily be made available to the flight crew, the approving official and flight operations. The manager could then check a box in the JCAS system to reflect whether or not a waiver was employed and a copy of the e-mailed document could be attached to the daily flight log as is now the custom. In that way, the use of a waiver would be readily apparent within the JCAS system.

  10. Implement a mechanism to track the ratio between security officers and passengers to ensure that flight missions adhere to the ratio in the Cabin Manual. (Page 56)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. JPATS strives to correctly staff each flight with the required ratio of security personnel. However, given the “fluid” nature of varying on-board prisoner counts at each flight segment, it is virtually impossible to absolutely attain the desired ratio on each flight segment. JPATS continues to staff the flight missions with the maximum security personnel based on the total number of aircraft seats available for prisoners. JPATS will convene an internal group to discuss a possible mechanism to track the ratio based upon the tenets of the Cabin Manual.

  11. Ensure that JPATS adheres to its Program Directive on hangar security, including maintaining an adequate level of security at hangars. (Page 56)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. As the report correctly points out, it is difficult to manage a contracted workforce of personal services contracts without the managerial ability to compel individual contractors to work. JPATS is and has been in complete support of regional or national security contracts for security services for quite some time. JPATS will continue at every opportunity to put a regional or national security contract in place at each of its sites to ensure an adequate level of hangar security exists at all times. However, this action will require the budgetary support of the customer agencies.



  13. Implement a mechanism to comprehensively track security incidents and related reports. (Page 56)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. JPATS will convene an internal work group, including IT personnel, to discuss and automate a mechanism whereby this can be accomplished with APSS.

  14. Create a module in APSS to capture information from incident reports to assist in scheduling prisoners and aliens with prior security issues aboard JPATS flights. (Page 56)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. APSS IT personnel are currently working toward implementing this recommendation.

  15. Coordinate with the JEC and BOP regarding how JPATS can help reduce the number of prisoners being housed at the BOP Federal Transfer Center. (Page 66)

    JPATS Response: JPATS agrees. JPATS will work with the BOP, through the JEC, to establish a benchmark and establish achievable length of stay benchmarks to gain the required efficiencies necessary to reduce the number of days prisoners stay at the BOP Federal Transfer Center.

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