D.C. Government:

Noneducation Factors Hindered Criminal Justice Initiative

GGD-90-89: Published: Jun 27, 1990. Publicly Released: Jul 27, 1990.

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Pursuant to a congressional request, GAO reviewed the District of Columbia's (D.C.) Department of Corrections' (DOC) Criminal Justice Initiative (CJI), which Congress mandated to: (1) expand the academic and vocational education training programs in overcrowded D.C. correctional institutions; and (2) serve as a model education program for the national corrections community.

GAO found that: (1) CJI was an attempt to relieve overcrowded prison conditions and to break the cycle of recidivism among D.C. offenders; (2) CJI education programs were to provide inmates with basic life and occupational skills; and (3) CJI education programs were to be accomplished by expanding the academic and vocational training programs available to inmates. GAO also found that: (1) DOC had only 3 months to plan and organize CJI, and was pressed for results; (2) DOC computerized job placement records included incomplete, nonstandardized, and inaccurate data; (3) $41 million in federal funds was provided to D.C. for CJI; and (4) federal funding for CJI ended in fiscal year 1986, and D.C. has since used its own funds to continue the educational programs.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: A DOC quality assurance team has reviewed job placement data input controls. As a result of that effort, data entry will be accomplished by just three persons versus the many that were performing this function. This new system should reduce the amount of inaccurate data in the files.

    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness and validity of its computerized job placement data, the Mayor of the District of Columbia should instruct the Director, DOC, to review existing job placement input controls to determine how the accuracy of the data can be improved.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: DOC has purchased computer software which will standardize job titles.

    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness and validity of its computerized job placement data, the Mayor of the District of Columbia should instruct the Director, DOC, to develop standardized job title information so that all similar job placements are grouped under the same job title.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

  3. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Part one of the recommendation has been implemented by the purchase of additional software. Parts two and three will be handled by a combination of additional codes in the computerized record and additional data being placed in the hard copy of the inmate's record. This is not fully responsive because not all the information will be noted in the computerized record, but it is sufficient.

    Recommendation: To improve the usefulness and validity of its computerized job placement data, the Mayor of the District of Columbia should instruct the Director, DOC, to provide in the computerized record information relating to: (1) job description; (2) why a particular placement was deemed to be related to the CJI training received; and (3) any noneducation factors that influenced an inmate to take a particular job.

    Agency Affected: District of Columbia

 

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