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Priority Open Recommendations: Department of Justice

GAO-23-106484 Published: May 10, 2023. Publicly Released: May 17, 2023.
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Fast Facts

Each year, we make more than 1,000 recommendations to help the federal government save money, address issues on our High Risk List, and significantly improve government operations.

This letter to the Department of Justice outlines 13 open recommendations that it should prioritize. The recommendations relate to opioids, the federal prison system, FBI whistleblowers, immigration courts, and cybersecurity.

DOJ implemented 3 recommendations we identified as a priority last year.

We regularly update priority recommendations here.

Graphic that says, "GAO's Priority Open Recommendations" and includes the DOJ seal.

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What GAO Found

In June 2022, GAO identified 10 priority recommendations for the Department of Justice (DOJ). Since then, DOJ has implemented three of those recommendations. In doing so, DOJ is able to assess how the data it obtains and uses supports its diversion control activities of controlled substances and prescription drugs, including opioids. Further, DOJ demonstrated that its risk assessment process for determining whether the Law Enforcement program is susceptible to significant improper payments is reasonable. DOJ also revised its assessment procedures to incorporate steps for coordinating with other federal agencies when assessing state agencies' cybersecurity. This step can help reduce the time and resources required by state officials in responding to duplicative assessment activities.

In May 2023, GAO identified six additional priority recommendation for DOJ, bringing the total number to 13. The 13 recommendations fall into the following areas:

  • Efforts to combat illicit opioid abuse
  • Federal prison system
  • FBI whistleblower retaliation complaints
  • Immigration courts
  • Cybersecurity

DOJ's continued attention to these issues could lead to significant improvements in government operations.

Why GAO Did This Study

Priority open recommendations are the GAO recommendations that warrant priority attention from heads of key departments or agencies because their implementation could save large amounts of money; improve congressional and/or executive branch decision-making on major issues; eliminate mismanagement, fraud, and abuse; or ensure that programs comply with laws and funds are legally spent, among other benefits. Since 2015, GAO has sent letters to selected agencies to highlight the importance of implementing such recommendations.

For more information, contact Charles M. Johnson, Jr. at (202) 512-8777 or

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