Federal Judiciary Space:

Long-Range Planning Process Needs Revision

T-GGD-94-18: Published: Oct 7, 1993. Publicly Released: Oct 7, 1993.

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GAO discussed the judiciary's process for projecting its future space needs, focusing on: (1) whether projection methods were applied consistently across districts; and (2) the judiciary's current space needs. GAO noted that: (1) the judiciary's basic planning assumption is that caseloads should determine staff and space needs; (2) the judiciary's method for projecting space needs does not treat districts consistently (3) the judiciary does not revise district plans completed before it made changes to its space allocation method; (4) the judiciary has not used the same caseload projections for all districts, resulting in underestimations of space needs for some courts; (5) the judiciary has given equal weight to all cases and ignores differences in complexity and trial length; (6) two-thirds of the districts' current space needs have been overstated because some districts occupy more space or have more authorized staff than their actual caseloads warrant; (7) projection methods have not produced reliable results because of flawed statistics and subjective estimates of current caseloads; and (8) the judiciary's 10-year projections are probably overestimated by 3.6 million square feet and $1.1 billion dollars.

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