Job Corps Training Centers:

Concerns About Admission Procedures and Agreements With State and Local Prison Authorities to Enroll Prisoners

GAO-01-182R: Published: Dec 12, 2000. Publicly Released: Dec 12, 2000.

Additional Materials:


Donald G. Fulwider
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GAO investigated a complaint about improper activities at the Keystone Job Corps Training Center in Drums, Pennsylvania. The complaint alleged the center was enrolling individuals who were at a state prison facility, the Youth Services Agency. The complaint alleged that these individuals posed a threat to the safety and well being of the regular student population at the Keystone Job Corps Training Center. GAO found that, contrary to the allegations, the Youth Services Agency is not a state prison. It is a facility for youths convicted of delinquency-related offenses. GAO also found that enrollees were screened to determine whether they were disruptive or dangerous.

Recommendations for Executive Action

  1. Status: Closed - Not Implemented

    Comments: Job Corps pursued this recommendation but was informed by the FBI that use of the National Crime Information Center is not permissible for noncriminal justice purposes, and that background checks of individuals based on name are impermissible. DOL officials noted that Job Corps' policy requires all applicants to provide the dates and addresses where they lived for the last 3 years, and this is checked with cognizant courts and agencies.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of the Job Corps to require that the individuals implementing Job Corps eligibility standards conduct criminal background checks on program applicants by using National Crime Information Center operated by the Department of Justice rather than rely on information from the applicant's self-certified application.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor

  2. Status: Closed - Implemented

    Comments: Job Corps reviewed its system and determined that enrollment of court-supervised youth in Job Corps is not encouraged through agreements with state and local judicial systems or as a general practice. To provide clarity, however, Job Corps modified its Policy and Requirements Handbook to emphasize that enrollment in Job Corps is voluntary. Job Corps also clarified policy regarding enrollment of court-supervised applicants. Court-supervised applicants can only be considered for enrollment if the cognizant agency states the youth has responded positively to supervision.

    Recommendation: The Secretary of Labor should direct the Director of the Job Corps to require that the individuals implementing Job Corps eligibility standards review their position on agreements between Job Corps and state and local authorities regarding enrollment of individuals under the supervision of the courts or prisons in Job Corps programs to determine whether it would be appropriate to establish a written policy to address this issue.

    Agency Affected: Department of Labor


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