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    Results:

    Subject Term: "Federal prisons"

    5 publications with a total of 15 open recommendations including 2 priority recommendations
    Director: Gretta L. Goodwin
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    5 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To better understand the available opportunities for collecting inmate health care utilization data, BOP should conduct a cost-effectiveness analysis of potential solutions, and take steps toward implementation of the most effective solution.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To better understand the available opportunities for controlling health care costs, BOP should implement its guidance to conduct "spend analyses" of BOP's health care spending, using data sources already available

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To determine the actual or likely effectiveness of its ongoing or planned health care cost control initiatives, BOP should evaluate the extent to which its initiatives achieve their cost control aim.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To enhance its strategic planning for and implementation of health care cost control efforts, BOP should incorporate elements of a sound planning approach and (1) establish a means of measuring progress toward and effectiveness of its activities for its current strategic objectives and goals related to controlling health care costs; and (2) identify the resources and investments necessary for implementation of its planned health care cost control initiatives.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Recommendation: To improve the reliability and utility of its Federal Medical Center mission analyses, BOP should document the analyses and findings that underlie its recommendations.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.
    Director: Diana C. Maurer
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    4 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To help determine if pretrial diversion programs and practices are effectively contributing to the achievement of department goals and enhance DOJ's ability to better manage and encourage the use of such programs and practices, the Attorney General should identify, obtain, and track data on the outcomes and costs of pretrial diversion programs.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOJ concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To help determine if pretrial diversion programs and practices are effectively contributing to the achievement of department goals and enhance DOJ's ability to better manage and encourage the use of such programs and practices, the Attorney General should develop performance measures by which to help assess program outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOJ concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To determine how the use of RRCs and home confinement contribute to its goal of helping inmates successfully reenter society, and to better enable BOP to adjust its policies and procedures for the optimal use of these alternatives, as necessary and within statutory requirements, the Director of BOP should identify, obtain, and track data on the outcomes of the programs.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOJ concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Recommendation: To determine how the use of RRCs and home confinement contribute to its goal of helping inmates successfully reenter society, and to better enable BOP to adjust its policies and procedures for the optimal use of these alternatives, as necessary and within statutory requirements, the Director of BOP should develop performance measures by which to help assess program outcomes.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: In providing comments on this report, DOJ concurred with this recommendation but has not yet taken any actions necessary to implement it.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-8777

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that costs savings estimates are reliable, the Director of the USMS should direct its Prisoner Operations Division to develop reliable methods for estimating cost savings and validating reported savings achieved.

    Agency: Department of Justice: United States Marshals Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, we reported on United States Marshals Service's (USMS) actions to reduce prisoner-related costs from fiscal years 2010 through 2015. During the course of our review, we found that while USMS implemented actions that it reports have continued to save prisoner-related costs, USMS's methods to determine savings for certain actions were not reliable. For example, USMS identified $375 million in savings from the alternatives to pre-trial detention program for fiscal years 2010 through 2015, but did not verify the data or methodology used to develop the estimate or provide documentation supporting its reported savings for fiscal years 2012 onward. Consequently, we recommended that USMS direct its prisoner operations division to develop reliable methods for estimating cost savings and validating reports savings achieved. USMS concurred with our recommendation. In July 2016, USMS provided more information about how it would address the recommendation by confirming that its future cost savings estimates would be consistent with OMB guidelines for conducting benefit-cost analyses and GAO-identified practices for assessing the reliability of computer-processed data. Aligning USMS estimates with these identified practices would better position the agency to assess the effectiveness of its cost savings efforts. As USMS develops such mechanisms, we will request and consider documentation and other evidence to determine that USMS has implemented this recommendation.
    Recommendation: To enable USMS to more consistently identify deficiencies and monitor corrective actions, the Director of the USMS should establish a mechanism to aggregate and analyze the results of annual district self-assessments.

    Agency: Department of Justice: United States Marshals Service
    Status: Open

    Comments: In May 2016, we reported on United States Marshals Service's (USMS) actions to design systems to help identify cost savings opportunities. During the course of our review, we found that USMS has designed several systems for identifying cost savings, including, for example, developing a strategic plan and guidance for district officials that reinforce policies to provide for the safe, secure, and cost-effective containment of its prisoners. In addition, USMS requires districts to conduct annual self-assessments of their procedures to identify any deficiencies which could lead to cost savings. However, USMS cannot aggregate and analyze the results of the assessments across districts. As a result, we recommended that USMS establish a mechanism to aggregate and analyze the results of annual district self-assessments. USMS concurred with our recommendation. In July 2016, USMS informed us that the agency will develop a method to aggregate and analyze the results of the annual district self-assessments. However, it has not provided information on its plans or timelines to implement the recommendation. As USMS develops such mechanisms, we will consider documentation and other evidence to determine that USMS has implemented this recommendation.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    including 2 priority recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Department of Justice effectively measures its efforts to address incarceration challenges, the Attorney General should explore additional data collection opportunities and modify its Smart on Crime indicators to incorporate key elements of successful performance measurement systems.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In August 2015, DOJ reported that it has taken steps to obtain new, more granular data elements that it hoped to incorporate into its indicators. However, DOJ also stated that it did not believe that measureable targets were appropriate for its Smart on Crime indicators because prosecutors need to make case by case decisions without regard to targets or concerns for any other incentive. As of October 2016, DOJ had not provided any updates on its progress addressing this recommendation to enhance performance measurement. Until DOJ provides this information, we cannot determine whether its efforts resulted in indicators that incorporate key elements of successful performance measurement systems. In March, 2017, DOJ noted that, due to a change in administration, the consequences of the Smart on Crime initiative are uncertain, and did not provide any further updates on its progress addressing our recommendation.
    Recommendation: To ensure that the Department of Justice effectively measures its efforts to address incarceration challenges, the Attorney General should direct the Office of the Pardon Attorney, in conjunction with the Office of the Deputy Attorney General, to (1) track how long it takes, on average, for commutation of sentence petitions to clear each step in the review process under DOJ's control, and (2) identify and address, to the extent possible, any processes that may contribute to unnecessary delays.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open
    Priority recommendation

    Comments: In August 2015, DOJ reported that tracking the steps of its review would not provide meaningful data because the Department prioritizes those cases for review that appear likely to meet the Clemency Initiative factors announced in April 2014. Nevertheless, DOJ stated that it agreed that identifying and addressing unnecessary delays in the review process is important, and that it has been regularly working to identify and address such delays. As of October 2016, DOJ had not provided any updates on its progress addressing this recommendation to better track and address any unnecessary delays. Until it does so, we cannot determine whether it is meeting the key goal of the new Clemency Initiative--to expeditiously identify and review especially meritorious petitions. In March 2017, DOJ noted that due to the accelerated clemency review process implemented in 2015, it currently has no standard process to evaluate, and did not provide any further updates on its progress in addressing our recommendation.
    Director: Maurer, Diana C
    Phone: (202) 512-9627

    2 open recommendations
    Recommendation: To ensure that the challenges that BOP faces activating new institutions are clearly conveyed to decision makers, in future activations, the Attorney General should use DOJ's annual congressional budget justification for BOP to communicate to Congress factors that might delay activations, such as challenges hiring staff and placing inmates associated with the locations of new institutions.

    Agency: Department of Justice
    Status: Open

    Comments: On November 25, 2014, DOJ provided a written response to GAO-14-709 that stated that DOJ agreed to use its annual congressional budget justification to communicate to Congress any factors that might affect activation schedules in future prison activations. On August 3, 2015, DOJ provided an update, noting that in "the overview" section of its budget justification documents, BOP planned to include a section called "Activation Challenges." In this section, BOP intended to include the activation status of any new prisons that had not been fully activated and discuss their challenges, including the hiring of staff and the placement of inmates. According to DOJ, this new section would be included as part of the FY 2017 OMB Budget Submission. In February 2016, the President released the FY 2017 budget request and these details were not included. While BOP's FY 17 budget did include reference to one prison in activation status, it did not discuss the status or challenges of the others. To fully address this recommendation, DOJ should ensure that in the President's FY 2018 budget submission, the section for BOP reference the status of all prisons in activation status and discuss any challenges related to hiring staff and placing inmates at each.
    Recommendation: To better address obstacles that occur during the activation process and to help ensure that institutions are activated within estimated timeframes, including those institutions that do not currently have inmates, such as Administrative USP Thomson and USP Yazoo City, the Director of the Bureau of Prisons should develop and implement an activation schedule that incorporates the four characteristics of scheduling best practices.

    Agency: Department of Justice: Bureau of Prisons
    Status: Open

    Comments: On November 25, 2014, DOJ provided a written response to GAO-14-709 that stated that BOP was in the process of developing a new activation handbook and comprehensive schedule and that BOP would establish a multi-disciplinary working group of BOP subject-matter experts to work on this project. On June 3, 2015, BOP reported that it had assembled a multidisciplinary workgroup as planned, and based on BOP's March 16, 2016 status update, the workgroup's efforts were ongoing at the time. On September 20, 2016, BOP provided the schedule to us, as part of its newly developed activation handbook. While the Activation Handbook's schedule addresses in detail what needs to be done and who should do the work, it is not fully inclusive of the best practices related to scheduling that we outlined in our report. To fully address this recommendation, BOP would need to fully incorporate best practices. This includes creating a baseline schedule that incorporates all of the tasks identified in the responsibility matrix, determining the duration for each effort, and incorporating the appropriate predecessor and successor logic. Per scheduling best practices, BOP would also need to determine which activities make up the critical path and develop procedures for conducting a schedule risk analysis, ensuring that the schedule can be traced both horizontally and vertically, and that mechanisms are in place for maintaining the baseline schedule and an updated schedule as projects progress.