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As of January 31, 2023, there are 4840 open recommendations that still need to be addressed. 471 of these are priority recommendations, those that we believe warrant priority attention. Learn more about our priority designation on our Recommendations page.

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1 - 20 of 21 Recommendations, including 3 Priority Recommendations

Bureau of Prisons: Opportunities Exist to Better Assist Incarcerated People with Obtaining ID Documents Prior to Release

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5 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Prisons In developing its new federal ID card, the Director of BOP should identify key stakeholders and leverage their expertise to help ensure that BOP maximizes the potential uses of the ID card. (Recommendation 1)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should ensure that BOP policy requires BOP facility staff to record complete and consistent data on whether or not incarcerated people possess each type of ID document. (Recommendation 2)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should examine the existing data fields to ensure that the appropriate information is being captured to clearly inform BOP of the number of people who have ID documents at home and choose not to have them sent to BOP facilities, as well as the reasons for not having ID documents. (Recommendation 3)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Bureau of Prisons Once BOP collects complete and consistent ID data and examines its existing data fields, the Director of BOP should analyze data bureauwide to gain a better understanding of why people do not have certain ID documents and how the agency can take steps to better assist these people. (Recommendation 4)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should make changes to the Statement of Work for RRCs to ensure that in future or renegotiated contracts, the RRCs are required to collect and regularly report data to BOP on the number of people obtaining ID documents while residing at RRCs. (Recommendation 5)
Open

When we confirm what actions the agency has taken in response to this recommendation, we will provide updated information.

Bureau of Prisons: Enhanced Data Capabilities, Analysis, Sharing, and Risk Assessments Needed for Disaster Preparedness

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5 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should establish in policy a clear definition of "disaster" for the purposes of tracking maintenance and repair project information. (Recommendation 1)
Open

BOP concurred with this recommendation and stated in January 2021 that it would take steps to establish a definition of disaster for tracking maintenance and repair projects. In August 2022, BOP provided an update noting that it is currently working with multiple stakeholders to develop its definition. We will continue to monitor BOP's efforts as it takes these steps.

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should establish codes or other tracking mechanisms for the purposes of tracking disaster-related projects. (Recommendation 2)
Open

BOP concurred with this recommendation and stated in January 2021 that it would take steps to establish codes or other tracking mechanisms to track its disaster-related projects. In August 2022, BOP provided an update noting continued use of its current tracking mechanism, which will change once BOP has established a definition of "disaster" for the purposes of tracking its disaster-related projects. BOP reports that efforts to establish such a definition are in progress--as we note with respect to the status update for recommendation 1. We will continue to monitor BOP's efforts as it takes

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should establish cost-effective and feasible analytic features—such as project milestones and cost indicators, as well as queries and alerts—that would position BOP to have better visibility into the monitoring of projects for possible delays and cost escalation. (Recommendation 3)
Open

BOP did not concur with this recommendation. In its January 2021 comment letter, BOP stated that it believes that establishing the recommended features into a system not designed for this type of analysis could require additional funding and that it already has process in place to monitor projects through its contract monitoring process. We agree that any features that BOP establishes should be cost-effective and feasible. Given that BOP is currently working to make its data systems interoperable, which includes developing new features and requirements, the timing presents an opportunity for

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should ensure that the plans to make financial and property management data systems interoperable incorporate the newly established analytic features, as appropriate, to ensure that project information is collected systematically. (Recommendation 4)
Open

BOP did not concur with this recommendation. In its January 2021 comment letter, BOP stated that it believes that incorporating the recommended features into a system not designed for this type of analysis could require additional funding and that it already has process in place to monitor projects through its contract monitoring process. We agree that any features that BOP incorporates should be cost-effective and feasible. Given that BOP is currently working to make its data systems interoperable, which includes incorporating new features and requirements, the timing presents an opportunity

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should, once the financial and property management data systems are interoperable, regularly conduct an analysis of trends using the established analytic features, as appropriate, and make changes, when warranted, to avoid unnecessary delays or costs. (Recommendation 5)
Open

BOP did not concur with this recommendation. In its January 2021 comment letter, BOP stated that it believes that establishing the recommended features into a system not designed for this type of analysis could require additional funding and that it already has process in place to monitor projects through its contract monitoring process. We agree that any features that BOP establishes should be cost-effective and feasible. Given that BOP is currently working to make its data systems interoperable, which includes developing new features and requirements, the timing presents an opportunity for

Law Enforcement: Federal Agencies Should Improve Reporting and Review of Less-Lethal Force

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should update BOP's use of force policy to address the use of force during demonstrations occurring near and far from federal institutions. (Recommendation 1)
Open

In August 2022, Department of Justice officials stated that the Bureau of Prisons is planning to update its use of force policy following the update of the Department of Justice's department-wide use of force policy in May 2022. As of August 2022, the department did not provide an estimated timeframe from when the Bureau of Prisons policy will be updated. We will continue to request updates from the department as it takes actions to address our recommendation.

Bureau of Prisons: BOP Could Further Enhance its COVID-19 Response by Capturing and Incorporating Lessons Learned

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1 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should routinely evaluate how it communicates its COVID-19 guidance to facility staff and modify its approach, as needed, based on the results to ensure BOP protocols are clearly communicated to staff. (Recommendation 1)
Open – Partially Addressed

BOP concurred with this recommendation and has begun taking action to implement it. In December 2021, BOP included two new questions related to staff perspectives on its COVID-19 guidance in its annual staff feedback survey. In April 2022, BOP officials reported that they had analyzed the results and decided to continue with BOP's current communication strategy for COVID guidance. As of September 2022, BOP officials reported that they planned to include the questions related to the COVID-19 guidance again in BOP's 2022 survey, which officials will deploy later in the fall of 2022. Since we

Bureau of Prisons: Opportunities Exist to Better Analyze Staffing Data and Improve Employee Wellness Programs

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5 Open Recommendations
3 Priority
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should develop and implement a plan for analyzing data to help identify and address the causes and potential impacts of staffing challenges on staff and inmates. (Recommendation 2)
Open

BOP concurred with this recommendation and has begun taking early steps to address it. In June 2021, BOP reported that it hired a contractor to assist the agency over several months in analyzing data to identify and address impacts of staffing challenges. In August 2022, BOP provided an update of specific steps the contractor was taking in other areas-as noted the status for our first recommendation-but did not provide any further detail on the contractor's effort related to this specific recommendation, which is to develop and implement a plan for analyzing data that would help it identify

Bureau of Prisons
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Director of BOP should conduct a risk assessment of its overtime and augmentation use, including identifying risks to staff, inmates, and institution security; and determining actions to respond, as appropriate. (Recommendation 3)
Open – Partially Addressed

BOP concurred with this recommendation and has begun taking early steps to address it. In June 2021, BOP reported that it hired a contractor to assist the agency in assessing the risk of overtime and augmentation usage and develop an overtime calculation tool. In August 2022, the contractor finalized its risk assessment of overtime and augmentation use, which included an assessment of whether overtime and augmentation were associated with, for example, sick leave, vacancies, or inmate and staff incidents, BOP also reported that the contractor created a tool to retroactively track overtime

Bureau of Prisons
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Director of BOP should assess the outcomes of the staffing incentives it utilizes by developing performance measures and goals, measuring outcomes against them, and adjusting incentives, as appropriate. (Recommendation 4)
Open – Partially Addressed

BOP concurred with this recommendation and indicated it has begun taking early steps to address it. In June 2021, BOP reported that it hired a contractor to assist the agency by analyzing past usage of staffing incentives and developing recommendations on whether to adjust incentives in the future, among other things. In August 2022, BOP reported that the contractor had completed and delivered its assessment of staffing incentives, but that the contractor continues to develop a bureau-wide framework to standardize incentive usage, consistent with the federal Office of Personnel Management

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should develop and implement a method that ensures its Employee Assistance Program participation and cost data are collected in a more timely and reliable manner. (Recommendation 5)
Open – Partially Addressed

BOP concurred with this recommendation and indicated it has begun taking early steps to address it. In June 2021, BOP reported that it hired a contractor to assist the agency over several months in implementing a method for collecting Employee Assistance Program (EAP) participation and cost data. In August 2022, BOP provided us with the contractor's report that included, in part, EAP participation data, based on responses to a survey that was developed and disseminated to all BOP staff. In October 2022, BOP reported that, based on the contractor's assistance, it developed a new method for

Bureau of Prisons
Priority Rec.
This is a priority recommendation.
The Director of BOP should develop and implement a reliable method, or amend existing methods, for calculating staffing levels at BOP institutions. (Recommendation 1)
Open – Partially Addressed

BOP concurred with this recommendation and has begun taking early steps to address it. In June 2021, BOP reported that it hired a contractor to assist the agency in calculating staffing levels at BOP institutions and, in August 2022, BOP reported that the contractor had completed its assessment and developed a new automated staffing tool prototype. BOP reports that the intent of the new tool is to address BOP staffing challenges by providing an updated, standardized, and transparent view of staffing guidelines, and also for assessing staffing levels. BOP also reported in August 2022 that the

Bureau of Prisons: Improved Planning Would Help BOP Evaluate and Manage Its Portfolio of Drug Education and Treatment Programs

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3 Open Recommendations
Agency Recommendation Status
Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should develop and document the agency's methods for determining the number of additional agency personnel it reports needing to support its MAT program expansion. (Recommendation 1)
Open – Partially Addressed

BOP concurred with this recommendation and is taking steps to implement it. In June 2020, BOP stated it was working to identify the number of additional agency personnel needed to support its MAT program expansion, including evaluating existing program requirements and consulting with external subject matter experts. Further, in December 2020, BOP stated that given its existing structure of providing primary care services to inmates, BOP had identified its needs for additional agency personnel. However, BOP did not provide documentation on how it identified the number of additional agency

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should implement the revised program evaluation plan based on available funding and staffing levels for conducting them. (Recommendation 5)
Open – Partially Addressed

BOP concurred with this recommendation and in July 2021 revised the program evaluation plan based on available funding and staffing levels. Further, in September 2021, BOP contracted with an external entity to evaluate its drug treatment programs. BOP expects the external entity to complete its initial analyses in October 2022. We will continue to monitor the status of the contract to ensure the contractor's efforts to evaluate BOP's drug treatment programs proceed as planned.

Bureau of Prisons The Director of BOP should develop and document a plan for managing its portfolio of drug education and treatment programs, including the MAT program. This plan should, among other components, identify specific activities and resources necessary to achieve desired results. (Recommendation 6)
Open – Partially Addressed

BOP concurred with this recommendation and is taking steps to implement it. In December 2020, BOP stated it will develop a portfolio management plan to ensure necessary resources are secured and appropriately allocated in a manner consistent with the agency's strategic plan. Specifically, as of November 2021, BOP developed the MAT Expansion Plan, Drug Education and Treatment Programs Management Plan, and the Health Services Division Strategic Plan for 2020-2024 to manage its portfolio of drug education and treatment programs. To fully implement this recommendation, BOP will need to update

Note: the list of open recommendations for the last report may continue on the next page.

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For questions about a specific recommendation, contact the person or office listed with the recommendation. For general information about recommendations, contact GAO's Audit Policy and Quality Assurance office at (202) 512-6100 or apqa@gao.gov.