A-30292, FEBRUARY 4, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 337

A-30292: Feb 4, 1930

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UNDER THE LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE BALANCE DUE A PRISONER PLUS PERSONAL FUNDS DEPOSITED WITH THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF A NAVAL PRISON FOR SAFEKEEPING SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION IN COMPUTING THE GRATUITY AND THE AMOUNT THEREOF. IT IS ALSO BELIEVED THAT SAVINGS DEPOSITS AND ACCRUED INTEREST THEREON. ARE INSUFFICIENT TO SO PROVIDE. SUCH AMOUNT AS WILL BE NECESSARY TO EQUAL $25.'. PARAGRAPH 73 (2C) WHICH WAS INCLUDED IN THE REVISION OF CHAPTER VI OF THE MANUAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF UNITED STATES NAVAL PRISONS CONSIDERED IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 9. PROVIDED THE BALANCE DUE AT DATE OF APPROVAL OF THE SENTENCE IS INSUFFICIENT TO SO PROVIDE. IF THE BALANCE DUE AT DATE OF CONVICTION IS LESS THAN $25.

A-30292, FEBRUARY 4, 1930, 9 COMP. GEN. 337

GRATUITIES - $25 DISCHARGE - NAVAL COURT-MARTIAL PRISONERS UNDER THE PROVISION IN SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 16, 1909, 35 STAT. 622, AUTHORIZING PAYMENT UPON DISCHARGE OF A GRATUITY NOT TO EXCEED $25 TO PERSONS CONFINED IN NAVAL PRISONS PURSUANT TO A NAVAL COURT-MARTIAL SENTENCE WHERE THE PRISONER WOULD OTHERWISE BE WITHOUT FUNDS TO MEET HIS IMMEDIATE NEEDS, ALL FUNDS IN THE POSSESSION OF THE PRISONER, WHETHER ACCRUED PAY OR MONEY ON DEPOSIT AT THE PRISON, MUST BE CONSIDERED IN DETERMINING WHAT IF ANY PORTION OF THE GRATUITY MAY BE PAID.

COMPTROLLER GENERAL MCCARL TO THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY, FEBRUARY 4, 1930:

THERE HAS BEEN RECEIVED YOUR THIRD INDORSEMENT DATED JANUARY 20, 1930, IN PART AS FOLLOWS:

2. UNDER THE PRESENT WORDING OF THE "MANUAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL PRISONS," AS SET FORTH IN PARAGRAPH 2 OF THE PRECEDING INDORSEMENT HEREON, PERSONAL FUNDS OF A PRISONER DEPOSITED WITH THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF A NAVAL PRISON FOR SAFEKEEPING SHOULD NOT BE INCLUDED IN THE BALANCE DUE FOR THE PURPOSE OF COMPUTING THE GRATUITY OF $25 PAYABLE TO THE PRISONER WHEN DISCHARGED FROM A NAVAL PRISON.

3. HOWEVER, SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF CONGRESS APPROVED FEBRUARY 16, 1909 (35 STAT. 622; U.S. CODE, TITLE 34, SECTION 961), AUTHORIZING PAYMENT OF GRATUITY NOT TO EXCEED $25 TO DISCHARGED NAVAL COURT-MARTIAL PRISONERS, PROVIDES THAT SUCH ALLOWANCE---

"SHALL BE MADE IN AMOUNTS TO BE FIXED BY, AND IN THE DISCRETION OF, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND ONLY IN CASES WHERE THE PRISONERS SO DISCHARGED WOULD OTHERWISE BE * * * WITHOUT FUNDS TO MEET THEIR IMMEDIATE NEEDS.'

UNDER THE LANGUAGE OF THE STATUTE IT IS CONSIDERED THAT THE BALANCE DUE A PRISONER PLUS PERSONAL FUNDS DEPOSITED WITH THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF A NAVAL PRISON FOR SAFEKEEPING SHOULD BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION IN COMPUTING THE GRATUITY AND THE AMOUNT THEREOF, IF ANY, WHICH SHOULD BE BORNE BY THE GOVERNMENT. IT IS ALSO BELIEVED THAT SAVINGS DEPOSITS AND ACCRUED INTEREST THEREON, AS AUTHORIZED BY THE ACTS OF FEBRUARY 9, 1889 (25 STAT. 657; 34 U.S.C., 933-935), AND JUNE 29, 1906 (34 STAT. 579; 34 U.S.C., 975), SHOULD LIKEWISE BE TAKEN INTO CONSIDERATION.

4. IN THE EVENT THE COMPTROLLER GENERAL DECIDES THAT UNDER EXISTING LAW THE AMOUNT OF THE GRATUITY SHOULD BE REDUCED BY THE AMOUNT OF PERSONAL FUNDS DELIVERED TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF A NAVAL PRISON FOR SAFEKEEPING AS WELL AS BY THE AMOUNT OF ANY SAVINGS DEPOSIT, WITH ACCRUED INTEREST THEREON, TO THE CREDIT OF A PRISONER AND ALSO THE BALANCE DUE, THE NAVY DEPARTMENT PROPOSES TO CHANGE PARAGRAPH 73 (2C), THIRD SUBPARAGRAPH, OF THE "MANUAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL PRISONS," TO READ AS FOLLOWS AND REQUESTS APPROVAL THEREOF:

"GRATUITY OF $25 PAYABLE UPON DISCHARGE, PROVIDED THE BALANCE DUE AT DATE OF APPROVAL OF SENTENCE PLUS ANY PERSONAL FUNDS OF THE PRISONER DELIVERED TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE NAVAL PRISON FOR SAFE KEEPING AND ANY FUNDS ON DEPOSIT, WITH ACCRUED INTEREST THEREON, ARE INSUFFICIENT TO SO PROVIDE; OR, IF THE BALANCE DUE AT DATE OF APPROVAL OF SENTENCE PLUS SUCH PERSONAL FUNDS AND FUNDS ON DEPOSIT, WITH ACCRUED INTEREST THEREON, AMOUNT TO LESS THAN $25, SUCH AMOUNT AS WILL BE NECESSARY TO EQUAL $25.'

PARAGRAPH 73 (2C) WHICH WAS INCLUDED IN THE REVISION OF CHAPTER VI OF THE MANUAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF UNITED STATES NAVAL PRISONS CONSIDERED IN DECISION OF SEPTEMBER 9, 1925, A-10697, PROVIDES:

GRATUITY OF $25 PAYABLE UPON DISCHARGE, PROVIDED THE BALANCE DUE AT DATE OF APPROVAL OF THE SENTENCE IS INSUFFICIENT TO SO PROVIDE; OR, IF THE BALANCE DUE AT DATE OF CONVICTION IS LESS THAN $25, SUCH AMOUNT WHICH WILL, WHEN ADDED TO THE BALANCE DUE AT DATE OF CONVICTION, EQUAL $25.

THE BASIC LETTER FROM LIEUT. ALVIN S. REID, SUPPLY OFFICER, UNITED STATES NAVAL PRISON, PARRIS ISLAND, S.C., REQUESTS INFORMATION WHETHER PERSONAL FUNDS OF A PRISONER DEPOSITED WITH THE DISBURSING OFFICER OF THE NAVAL PRISON FOR SAFE-KEEPING SHOULD BE CONSIDERED AS FUNDS OTHERWISE AVAILABLE AND REDUCE THE GRATUITY PAID UPON DISCHARGE BY THAT AMOUNT IN THE SAME MANNER AS PROVIDED BY SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 5 COMP. GEN. 16, AND PARAGRAPH 7 OF SECTION B OF THE PAY BILL INSTRUCTIONS.

SECTION 10 OF THE ACT OF MARCH 4, 1925, 43 STAT. 1274, AUTHORIZES PAYMENT OF THE SUM OF $25 TO PERSONS, NOT IN PRISONS, DISCHARGED FOR THE GOOD OF THE SERVICE WITH PROVISION "THAT THE SAID SUM SHALL BE FIXED BY, AND IN THE DISCRETION OF, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND SHALL BE PAID ONLY IN CASES WHERE THE PERSON SO DISCHARGED WOULD OTHERWISE BE WITHOUT FUNDS TO MEET HIS IMMEDIATE EDS.' THE REGULATIONS ISSUED THEREUNDER QUOTED, 5 COMP. GEN. 16, 17, LIMITED THE PAYMENT TO A GRATUITY IN SUCH SUM AS WOULD TOTAL $25 "WHEN ADDED TO FUNDS DUE OR OTHERWISE AVAILABLE TO THE MAN (SUCH AS ACCRUED PAY, PERSONAL FUNDS, ETC. * * *).' SECTION 13 OF THE ACT OF FEBRUARY 16, 1909, 35 STAT. 622, AUTHORIZES PAYMENT, UPON DISCHARGE, TO PERSONS CONFINED IN PRISON PURSUANT TO SENTENCE OF A NAVAL COURT-MARTIAL, OF A GRATUITY NOT TO EXCEED $25 WITH PROVISION "THAT SUCH * * * SHALL BE MADE IN AMOUNTS TO BE FIXED BY, AND IN THE DISCRETION OF, THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY AND ONLY IN CASES WHERE THE PRISONERS SO DISCHARGED WOULD OTHERWISE BE * * * WITHOUT FUNDS TO MEET THEIR IMMEDIATE NEEDS.'

THE QUOTED LANGUAGE IN EACH OF THESE ACTS LIMITS THE DISCRETION TO BE EXERCISED BY THE SECRETARY OF THE NAVY IN PAYMENT OF THE GRATUITY TO CASES WHERE THE PERSON OR PRISONER SO DISCHARGED WOULD OTHERWISE BE WITHOUT SUITABLE FUNDS TO MEET HIS IMMEDIATE NEEDS. WHETHER PRISONER AT TIME OF DISCHARGE HAS FUNDS IN THE AMOUNT OF $25 OR ANY PART THEREOF IS A MATTER OF FACT TO BE DETERMINED NOT ALONE FROM THE AMOUNT OF PAY THAT MAY BE DUE HIM BUT FROM KNOWLEDGE OF ANY MONEY HE MAY OTHERWISE POSSESS, SUCH AS FUNDS ON DEPOSIT, WITH INTEREST THEREON, AND ANY PERSONAL FUNDS HE MAY HAVE TURNED OVER TO THE DISBURSING OFFICER FOR SAFE-KEEPING.

THE PROPOSED CHANGE IN SUBPARAGRAPH OF PARAGRAPH 73 (2C) OF THE MANUAL FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE UNITED STATES NAVAL PRISONS IS IN ACCORD WITH THE LAW, SO FAR AS INVOLVES DISBURSEMENTS, AND THERE APPEARS TO BE NO REASON WHY IT SHOULD NOT BE PROMULGATED.