Millions of Dollars in Charges for Housing D.C. Prisoners in Bureau of Prisons' Institutions Are in Dispute

GGD-83-44: Published: Jun 1, 1983. Publicly Released: Jun 1, 1983.

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GAO reviewed the dispute between the Bureau of Prisons and the District of Columbia Government concerning payments to house D.C. prisoners in Federal correctional institutions.

GAO noted that, according to the Bureau's records, the D.C. Government owed it more than $20 million as of August 1982. This deficit existed even after the D.C. Government paid the Bureau $12.5 million in January 1982 to partially offset the deficit. GAO found that the agencies cannot agree on the amount of money owed or how the interest charges should be applied. The Bureau applied the January 1982 payment to the interest due on the outstanding debt and the portion of the debt that had been in arrears the longest. However, the position of D.C. is that it should not pay interest charges on all of the outstanding debt because a large part of the balance consists of questionable costs. GAO also noted that the Bureau has little incentive to resolve billing disputes with the D.C. Department of Corrections because the funds, by law, are not available to the Bureau, but are deposited to the U.S. Treasury. GAO concluded that the Bureau and the D.C. Government need to resolve their dispute over payments to house D.C. prisoners in Federal correctional institutions and to take steps to prevent such disputes in the future.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: The Subcommittee declined to accept this recommendation.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to formulate legislation to authorize the Bureau of Prisons to use reimbursements collected from the D.C. Government to offset the Bureau's operating expenses for housing D.C. prisoners.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to enforce the terms of the recently revised billing procedures that require Bureau of Prisons' institutions to submit negative quarterly reports to the Department of Corrections when no D.C. prisoners are being housed.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to require Bureau institutions to promptly respond to disputed payment lists prepared by the Department of Corrections so that disputed charges in recent billings can be resolved quickly.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  4. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Attorney General should require the Director of the Bureau of Prisons to meet with D.C. Government officials to: (1) resolve how the $12.5 million the District paid in January 1982 is to be applied by the Bureau; and (2) determine how debt resolution and the application of payments will be handled in the future.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  5. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Attorney General should set a timetable for resolving the disputed charges and outstanding debts that are now on the Bureau of Prisons' records.

    Agency Affected: Department of Justice

  6. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Please call 202/512-6100 for information.

    Recommendation: The Mayor of the District of Columbia and the Attorney General should set a timetable for resolving the disputed charges and outstanding debts that are now on the Bureau of Prisons' records.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

 

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