United States General Accounting Office Report to Congressional Requesters . GAO June 1990 D.C. GOVERNMENT Noneducation Factors Hindered Criminal Justice Initiative :as3 u:3wdu3le --Not to be released outside the General ZRRnt.hq Oflice unless specifhlly approved by ;Ihe Office of Congressional Relations. %WL ,,._--- GAO/GGD-90-89 - -- _ United States GAO General Accounting Office Washington, D.C. 20648 General Government Division B-233867 June 27,199O The Honorable Brock Adams Chairman, Subcommittee on the District of Columbia Committee on Appropriations United States Senate The Honorable Thomas Harkin United States Senate The Honorable Arlen Specter United States Senate During October 1983, Congress funded a special prison initiative for the District of Columbia commonly referred to as the Criminal Justice Initia- tive (cx). Congress’ intention was to expand the academic and voca- tional education training programs in the District’s overcrowded correctional institutions. Congress also envisioned that CJI would serve as a model education program for the Nation’s correctional community. Two former Subcommittee Chairmen, Thomas Harkin and Arlen Specter, asked for information on three questions relating to the planning and operation of cJI: . What program planning challenges did the District face in originally organizing the CJI program? . For what purposes were CJIoperating funds spent? . How many inmates obtained a job related to the CJI training received? The District of Columbia’s Department of Corrections (not) is currently Background respon&bIefor housing about 12,000 men and women sentenced by the courts and for preparing them to reenter society. To fulfill this role, DOC operates a variety of correctional facilities and contracts for some cor- rectional services. DCXoperates a detention facility in the District of Columbia, where it holds about 1,700 individuals until their cases are heard in court. After sentencing, inmates are housed at the not-operated institution in Lorton, Virginia; in state and local correctional facilities; at a federal facility; or at halfway houses in the District. The District con- tracts with state and local correctional facilities to house its inmates in order to reduce overcrowding at its Lorton facility. At the time of our Page 1 GAO/GGD9M9 D.C. Govemment review, DOCestimated that its inmate population exceeded its physical plant capacity by 23 percent. Congress recognized that the District faced a potentially dangerous prison crowding situation and that one reason was the high incidence of recidivism among D.C. offenders (estimated at 52 percent). Therefore, in fiscal year 1984 Congress provided the District with funds for an initia- tive to attempt to relieve the crowded conditions and break the cycle of recidivism. This effort was known as the Criminal Justice Emergency Initiative, later known as CJI. From fiscal year 1984 through fiscal year 1986, $41 million in federal funds were provided to the District for CJI. The objectives of CJI were to l hire additional prison staff to provide security and to process the ever- increasing resident population more effectively; . support expansion of the education program by hiring additional instructors and support staff and by purchasing equipment; and l build, renovate, and equip classroom and vocational facilities. The objective of the education portion of CJI was to provide the inmates with basic life skills and a trade that they could use upon release. This objective was to be accomplished by expanding the academic and voca- tional training programs available to inmates at the District’s correc- tional institutions. Federal funding for CJI ended in fiscal year 1986. Since then the District has used its own funds to continue these educational programs. In order to answer the three questions raised concerning the planning Objectives, Scope,and and operation of CJI, we interviewed DCKofficials who were involved Methodology with, or had knowledge of, its initial organization. We also reviewed DOC files and records on early CJI program planning and implementation. However, these files were incomplete, limiting our ability to pursue all aspects of each question. For example, only limited program planning documentation was available. Thus, we could not determine how the concerns of facility managers and security staffs were addressed by the education staff, a problem noted by several uoc officials. We used the computerized files of DOC’Smanagement information system to obtain job placement information for the period from October 1, 1986, to June 30, 1989. Prior to October 1986, DOCdid not maintain job placement dat2 on a departmentwide basis. The data identified (1) the number of job placements, (2) job titles, (3) hourly salaries, and (4) the number of jobs Page 2 GAO/GGIMCU39 D.C. Governmen Bz33867 that were related to the CJI training received while incarcerated. How- ever, during our analysis of the not records, we became aware of signifi- cant data accuracy problems that restricted our ability to analyze and draw conclusions about the impact of CJI. These problems are discussed in detail in appendix III. Our work was done between August 1988 and October 1989 and in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. The following responses to the questions were based on the best infor- Results mation available at the time of our review: l The District faced formidable challenges in initially planning and organizing the CJI program. The District originally planned for a $760,000 appropriation to develop a basic literacy program for pris- oners. However, the planning figure was later increased to $8 million when a congressional representative told the District that Congress was considering a larger appropriation. About 3 months from the time the District was first contacted by Congress, Congress appropriated $22.3 million. Thus, DW had only about 3 months to plan and organize the cx effort, and Congress immediately pressed for results. In response, DOC officials reorganized the correctional education program in an attempt to expedite the planning and implementation of the program. However, problems with the way this management effort was carried out actually delayed program implementation. (See app. I.) l Of the $41 million total WI federal appropriation provided between fiscal years 1984 and 1986, $27.3 million was for operating expenses and $13.7 million was for capital projects. Over 50 percent of the oper- ating funds were used to support the education portion of CJI. During each succeeding fiscal year in which federal CJI funds were provided, DOCspent a larger percentage of its CJI operating funds on education-in fiscal year 1984,36 percent; in 198558 percent; and in 1986, 100 per- cent. (See app. II.) . D&S current job placement information system significantly limits the ability of DOCmanagers to accurately assess program performance and make well-informed managerial decisions. Our analysis of DOC’Scomput- erized job placement records showed that the data were incomplete, not standardized, and inaccurate. For example, 46 percent of the records did not indicate whether the placement was related to the CJI training received. Further limiting program evaluation is the lack of information that could provide a complete profile of the job obtained and its relation- ship to the training received. There is no requirement for the placement Page 3 GAO/GGD99-39 D.C. Gownment B233M7 file to contain (1) job descriptions, (2) data on why a particular place- ment was deemed to be related to the CJI training received, or (3) infor- mation on noneducation factors that influenced an inmate to take a particular job. Until the existing data problems are corrected and the additional data elements added, we believe that a significant shortfall exists in D&S job placement database, thereby reducing its usefulness to uoc management. (See app. III.) l Our analysis of the limited data available shows that from October 1, 1986, to June 30,1989, there have been 3,944 job placements. Of these, 392 (10 percent) were reported to be related to the CJItraining received. The perceived low ratio of CJIplacements is influenced by noneducation factors. These factors are (1) the practice of inmates taking the first available job in order to be eligible for parole; (2) the practice of inmates taking a nona-related job because it provided better benefits, espe- cially medical; and (3) the lack and/or cost of transportation, causing inmates to take a job close to their homes. Jobs under the title “Laborer” were obtained most frequently, repre- senting 123 (3 1 percent) of the c.u-related placements. For the cJr-related group as a whole, the average hourly salary obtained was $5.90. (See app. III.) l The chronic overcrowding that exists in the District’s correctional system works against efforts to develop and sustain an effective educa- tion program. DOCestimates that the inmate population will exceed the physical plant population well into the 1990s and perhaps longer, depending on how quickly additional facilities are built. According to not officials, overcrowding results in inmate transfers that cause signifi- cant breaks in an inmate’s education and creates an environment not conducive to learning. Inmates transferred to other state and local facili- ties are often those enrolled in the education program and picked by the receiving institution because their involvement in the program is consid- ered a positive trait. (See app. III.) District managers need reasonably complete, standardized, and accurate Conclusion data regarding the CJI program in order to both make management deci- sions and evaluate program results. Our analysis of not’s job placement records, however, showed that the data contained in those records were incomplete, not standardized, and inaccurate. These problems impede using this information for making well-informed management decisions to improve program effectiveness. Page 4 GAO/GGLMO439 D.C. Govemmer I B-2333437 To improve the usefulness and validity of its computerized job place- Recommendations ment data, we recommend that the Mayor of the District of Columbia instruct the Director of DOCto take the following actions: . Review existing job placement input controls to determine how the accu- racy of the data can be improved. l Develop standardized job title information so that all similar job place- ments are grouped under the same job title. . Provide in the computerized record, information relating to (1) job description, (2) why a particular placement was deemed to be related to the CJI training received, and (3) any noneducation factors that influ- enced an inmate to take a particular job. The District of Columbia Government concurred with the report’s find- Agency Comments ings, conclusion, and recommendations, noting that many of these issues are not new. The District listed a variety of corrective actions that it will take to address our recommendations. In particular, the District will strengthen controls over the input of job placement data by placing data responsibilities in one person, having a quality assurance team review current controls for accuracy, and adding more equipment. In addition, the District will provide additional staff training and acquire new software to expand and improve its job placement database. The com- plete comments of the District are in appendix IV. As arranged with your offices, unless you publicly announce the con- tents of this report earlier, we plan no further distribution until 30 days from the issue date. At that time, we will send copies to other interested parties. Major contributors to this report are listed in appendix V. If you have any questions concerning this report, please contact me on 275-8387. J. William Gadsby Director, Federal Management Issues Page I5 GAO/GGD9O49 DC. Govemment Contents Letter 1 Appendix I 8 What Program More Time Was Needed to Plan and Organize CJI Centralizing the Education Program Caused Problems 8 10 Planning Challenges Use of Contractor in Lieu of Normal Procurement 11 Did the District Face Channels in Originally Lessons Learned: Future Efforts Need More Time and 12 Greater Emphasis on Planning Organizing the CJI Program? Appendix II 13 For What Purpose CJI Operating Fund Expenditures for Fiscal Years 1984 Through 1986 13 Were CJI Operating DOC Spent 35 Percent of Its 1984 CJI Operating Funds on 14 Funds Spent? Education DOC Spent 58 Percent of Its 1985 CJI Operating Funds on 14 Education All Fiscal Year 1986 CJI Operating Funds Spent on 15 Education District Now Supports Education Programs 15 Appendix III It: How Many Inmates Data Errors in DOC’s Job Placement File CJI-Related Placements Represent 10 Percent of Total 1c 1F Obtained a Job Related Placements to the CJI Training Most Common Job Obtained-Laborer 15 Salaries Average Less Than $6.00 Per Hour 21 Received? Prison Crowding- A Significant Problem Facing the 22 Education Program Appendix IV 2F Comments of the District of Columbia Government Page 6 . Content43 Appendix V 28 Major Contributors to This Report Tables Table 11.1:Expenditure of CJI Operating Funds, Fiscal 13 Years 1984,1986, and 1986 Table 11.2:Expenditure of CJI Operating Funds, Fiscal 14 Year 1984 Table 11.3:Expenditure of CJI Operating Funds, Fiscal 15 Year 1986 Table 11.4:Expenditure of CJI Operating Funds, Fiscal 15 Year 1986 Table 111.1:Average Hourly Salary, Fiscal Years 1987 22 Through 1989 Figures Figure III. 1: Job Placements by Fiscal Quarter, October 1, 18 1986, to June 30,1989 Figure 111.2:Most Frequently Obtained Job for Inmates 20 With CJI-Related Training, October 1, 1986, to June 30,1989 Figure 111.3:Most Frequently Obtained Job for Inmates 21 Without CJI-Related Training, October 1,1986, to June 30,1989 Figure III.4: Inmate Year-End Population by FiscaI Year, 22 1983 Through 1989 Figure 111.6:Inmate Year-End Population by Facility, 23 Fiscal Years 1983 Through 1989 Abbreviations Criminal Justice Initiative Department of Corrections Page 7 GAO/GGDW89 D.C. Government Appendix I What Program Planning ChallengesDid the District Face in Originally Organizing the CJI Program? In October 1983, Congress provided the District of Columbia’s Depart- ment of Corrections (DOC)with $22.3 million in Criminal Justice Initia- tive (CJI) funds, of which $12.4 million was for operating expenses. CJI operating funds were to be used in part to implement a correctional edu- cation program that would be viewed as a model for the rest of the United States. However, the District’s initial planning efforts were ham- pered by insufficient lead time for proper planning and Congress’ desire for quick results. These conditions created formidable challenges for the District. In response to the CJI challenge, IXC reorganized its education function by centralizing program management. The goal was to expedite and gain better control over CJI planning and implementation. However. commu- nication problems emerged between the DOCsecurity staff, facility man- agers, and the education staff. These problems resulted in slowing CJI education program implementation. DOCalso hired a private contractor to perform a variety of administrative services, such as obtaining teachers and supplies for the program. DOCbelieved that the in-house procurement process was too slow. Again, the goal was to be responsive to the congressional call for quick action. Before fiscal year 1984, DOCoperated a relatively small education pro- More Time Was gram. When it needed to expand its program quickly because of the CJI Neededto Plan and initiative, DOCtook actions it thought would speed program implementa- Organize CJI tion. However, the 3-month lead time provided by Congress was not enough for DOCto effectively plan and organize the program. CJI Funding Was Too According to a former DOCAssistant Director for Administrative Ser- vices who was involved with the early CJI planning, DOCwas first Much Too Soon approached by a congressional representative during the summer of 1983 for an estimate of the funds needed to develop a basic literacy pro- gram for residents of the District’s correctional institutions. DOC’Sinitial CJI planning estimate was about $750,000. That estimate was later revised to $8 million, including $4.2 million in capital funds because DOC was informed by a congressional representative that Congress was con- sidering a larger program. In October 1983, or about 3 months from the time DOCwas first con- tacted, $22.3 million was provided to DOCto improve and expand its edu cation programs and to relieve the crowding that existed within the District’s correctional facilities as part of the District’s fiscal ytlar 1984 Page 8 GAO/GGD904S D.(‘. hvemnwl APpe* 1 WlutPmgramPhnningCbaUengesDidthe DiStIiCtF&X?ill orisiarusogrnizine* CJIRolpam? appropriations act. According to the former Assistant Director for Administrative Services, DOChad developed only preliminary staffing and budget configurations by October 1983. The appropriations act provided $22.3 million for CJI. According to the act’s conference report, $9.9 million was for capital improvements and $12.4 million was for operating expenses. (We have previously reported on the use of CJI capital fundsl) The conference report also contained a breakdown of how the conferees intended the operating funds to be used. The operating expenses were broken down as follows: (1) $437,000 for classification and parole officers and records clerks; (2) $3.7 million for additional corrections officers; and (3) $8.2 million for education and vocational programs. However, because the operating expense breakdown was not incorporated into the act either expressly or by reference, the District was not legally bound to follow it. The $8.2 million represented about 600 percent more than the approximate $1.2 million MU: spent for education during fiscal year 1982.2 uoc was required to spend the operating funds during fiscal year 1984 or lose them. CongressStressed Results In addition to the funding challenges, the District was also being chal- lenged by Congress to show program results quickly. At a November 1983 congressional CJI oversight hearing, CJI’Sprincipal congressional sponsor noted that if the program yielded results, appropriations for other jurisdictions could become available. He also noted that future DCZ CJI appropriations would be influenced by program accomplishments. A congressional representative confirmed that pressure was placed on ooc to get the CJI program going. DCICofficials said that quick results were desired because CJI was considered a pilot program that could be used as a national model. ‘D.C. Government: Problems Have Created Delays in constructing Ikkation Facilities at ~~QII, (GAO/GGD8slBR, Oct. 1987). Wscal year 1982, rather than 1983, was used for comparison because 1983 data were not available. According to a Dot budget official, a reporting format change instituted in fiscal year 1983 dmcon- tinued recording expenditures at the program level of detail, i.e., education. The official said. how- ever, that fiscal year 1983 expenditure8 for education were similar to thee made during fkal year 1982. Data prior to fiscal year 1982 were not available. Page 9 GAO/GGIMW-J39 D.C. Govemment Appendix I What Program Planning Challenges Did the District Face in Originally w the CJI Program? To expedite CJI implementation, MX: changed its educational program Centralizing the management approach. DOCtook program control away from the staffs Education Program of the individual correctional facilities and gave it to a centralized man- Caused Problems agement staff. However, this action resulted in conflict and a lack of communication among the education, facility management, and security staffs, which actually hindered program implementation. Before the CJI initiative, each correctional facility manager had been in charge of that facility’s education program-a decentralized manage- ment approach. On November 27, 1983, all institutionally based aca- demic and vocational programs were reorganized into a single program under the new position of Assistant Director for Educational Services. The Assistant Director became responsible for and had control over all personnel, expenditures, and services provided under the education por- tion of the cn appropriation. The Assistant Director also assumed con- trol over existing educational programs, including personnel, equipment, supplies, and space. This new organization encountered substantial communication problems. It did not effectively address the different priorities of the DOCstaffs, according to a former M)(: Director. While the Education Ser- vices staffs primary interest was the establishment of an education pro- gram, the corrections staffs priority was facility and personnel security According to uoc officials, the corrections staff’s input in the planning and implementation of the program was not obtained. According to the former DOCDirector, the lack of communication resulted in a “we- versus-them attitude” and “no buy in” from security personnel and facility administrators. He said that as a result, the education function never became integrated into the mainstream of the correctional envi- ronment, and implementation was hampered. In August 1987, not decentralized management of the education pro- gram, and facility administrators were once again responsible for the education program within their facilities. This was done in response to congressional concern that DOCfacility administrators should become more involved in the daily operation of the education program. Currently, the education division’s responsibility is the development ar monitoring of the program, with day-to-day program implementation and supervision done by the facility administrators. The DOCofficials currently responsible for education and management of the facilities believe that facility administrators have to be involved with the pro- gram and that this was a positive change. Page 10 GAO/GGD9@89 D.(‘. Gove-4 Appendix 1 WhtPmgmmPhnningChAllengesDidthe DiAtliCtFACAiIl OW=WNtbe CJIM? District officials readily admit that program delays did occur. As Lessons Learned: recently as May 17,1989, the Mayor testified before the Subcommittee Future Efforts Need on the District of Columbia, Senate Appropriations Committee, that More Time and implementation was slower than expected and was not without problems. The Mayor stated that “the bureaucracy operates slowly and Greater Emphasis on it took some time to get all aspects of the program in gear.” Planning The CJI experience provides valuable insight on the problems associated with implementing a new and large initiative without adequate plan- ning. DOCprogram officials said that the lack of planning time and the need to show quick results were key factors contributing to the problems that later resulted. They said that at least 1 year would be necessary to plan a program of the size and scope of CJI. During this year, they said, the program planners should do the following: . determine the needs of the target population; l develop a comprehensive education program and curriculum to meet the needs of the population; l develop an effective system for the procurement of teachers, supplies, and facilities; and . establish an effective process to facilitate systemwide coordination, cooperation, and direction among all the parties that will affect the suc- cess of the program. These parties include not only government agencies but also private organizations associated with correctional rehabilitation and business groups that will eventually provide jobs. Page 12 GAO/GGKHO-8!l D.C. Gove-n For What Fbrpose Were CJI Operating Funds Spent? During fiscal years 1984 through 1986, Congress provided DOCwith $27.3 million in federal funds for CJI operating expenses. Of this total, DOCused $14.3 million (52 percent) for the education portion of CJI. The remaining $13 million (48 percent) was used for security purposes, such as the hiring of correctional officers, and for other purposes such as feeding, clothing, and providing medical services to inmates. Each fiscal year, DOCincreased the percentage of CJI operating funds used for education. During fiscal year 1984,35 percent was used for education; during fiscal year 1985,58 percent; and during fiscal year 1986, 100 percent. Starting in fiscal year 1987, the District used its own funds to continue this education effort. During fiscal years 1984 through 1986, Congress provided DOCwith a CJI Operating Fund total of $27.3 million in federal operating funds for CJI. Of this total, DOC Expenditures for used $14.3 million (52 percent) for the education portion of CJI. The Fiscal Years 1984 remaining $13 million (48 percent) was used for security and other needs. The District also contributed $2.3 million of its own funds during Through 1986 fiscal year 1986 to support the education program. Table II. 1 summa- rizes CJI expenditures for the 3 fiscal years. The expenditure classifica- tions were determined by DOC. Table 11.1:Expenditure of CJI Operating Funds, Fiscal Years 1984,1985, and 1988 Dollars in thousands Security and Description Education 0theP Total Personal services $8,305 $10,315 $18,820 Supplies 1,525 587 2,212 Other services and chargesb 3,971 1,641 5,811 Medical 0 16 18 Land and buildings 887 0 887 Equipment 1,857 334 2,191 Subtotal 18,545= 12,992 29,537 Less District FY 1986 contribution W!86) 0 WW Total federal funds $14,259 $12,992 $27,251 Percentaae 52 48 100 Note: Totals do not add due to rounding. aExpenses classified as “other” include feeding, clothing, and providing medical serwces to Inmates b”Other services and charges” is pnmarily used for contractual services such as consultlng %cludes $2.3 million of District funds provided during fiscal year 1986. Page 13 GAO/GGD9O439 D.C. Gwemment For What Puqmee Were CT1 Operating Funds Spent? The District of Columbia Appropriations Act of 1984, (Public Law 98- DOC Spent 35 Percent 125) provided about $25.2 million to the District for CJI. Of this amount, of Its 1984 CJI $22.3 million was provided to LXX. The remaining $2.9 million was pro- Operating F’undson vided to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia for additional staff and capital improvements. Of the $22.3 million provided to not, Education $12.4 million was used for CJI operating expenses and the remaining $9.9 million was used for capital projects. For fiscal year 1984, not reported it spent $4.3 million for education and $8.1 million for security and other purposes. Table II.2 presents a sum- mary of fiscal year 1984 CJI operating fund expenditures. Table 11.2:Expenditure of CJI Operating Funds, Fiscal Year 1984 Dollars in thousands Security and Description Education other Total* Personal services $5,819 $6,883 Supplies 849 583 1,432 Other services and charges 957 1,524 2,481 Medical services 0 16 18 Land and buildings 887 0 887 Equipment 781 169 950 Total $4,318 98,112 812,430 Percentaae 35 65 100 aTotal does not add due to rounding For fiscal year 1985, Congress provided DCK$11.6 million for the contin- DOC Spent 58 Percent uation of CJI. Because of congressional concern regarding the pace with of Its 1985 CJI which the education portion of CJI was being implemented, only about Operating Funds on one-half of that $11.6 million ($6.2 million) was provided as part of the District’s 1985 appropriation (Public Law 98-473). The additional $5.4 Education million was later provided in a supplemental appropriation (Public Law 99-88). During fiscal year 1985, DOCused $6.7 million, or 58 percent, of the total CJI appropriation for educational purposes. The remaining $4.9 million, or 42 percent, was used for security and other proposes, such as bedding supplies. As with fiscal year 1984, Congress did not specify in the public law the purposes for which the fiscal year 1985 CJI funds could be used. Table II.3 presents a summary of fiscal year 1985 CJI expenditures. PAge 14 GAO/GGDM9 D.C. Govemmenl For What Purpose Were CJX Operating Funda Spent? Table 11.3:Expenditure of CJI Operating Funds, Fiscal Year 1985 Dollars in thousands Security and Description Education other Total’ Personal services $3,590 $4,496 58.088 Supplies 434 104 538 Other services and charges 1,896 116 2,012 Equipment 816 165 981 Total 98,738 94,881 Sll,618 Porcentaoe !i8 42 100 aTotal does not add due to rounding. During fiscal year 1986, the last year federal funds were provided, Con- AlI Fiscal Year 1986 gress provided $3.2 million in CJI operating funds. The District supple- CJI Operating Funds mented this with $2.3 million of its own funds. Table II.4 shows Spent on Education expenditure data for the combined federal and District fiscal year 1986 education funds. The District did not separately account for federal funds. Table 11.4:Expenditure of CJI Operating Funds, F&al Year lSa8 Dollars in thousands Security and DOSCcriptiOtl Education other Total Personal services $3,871 0 53,871 Supplies 242 0 242 Other services and charges 1,118 0 1,118 Eauioment 260 0 280 TOW 95,ssr 0 $5,492 Percentage 100 0 100 Note: Totals do not add due to rounding. %cluded $2.3 million In nonfederal funds Beginning with fiscal year 1987, the District has used its own funds to District Now Supports support the continuation of the education programs begun under CJI. Education Programs Since fiscal year 1987, the District has spent $24.4 million on correc- tional education-$7.7 million in 1987, $8.5 million in 1988, and $8.2 million in 1989. P8ge 16 GAO/GGMO-89 D.C. Government Appendix III How Many Inmaks Obtained a Job Related to the CJI Training Received? Since fiscal year 1987, DOChas used a computerized job placement database to retain information relating to the jobs its inmates have received. During our analysis of these data, we noted several significant accuracy problems, including missing information. Consequently, while the data presented in this appendix represent the best available on the results of the CJI program, they have significant limitations that restrict our ability to draw conclusions about the impact of CJI. Our limited analysis showed that from October 1, 1986, to June 30, 1989, there have been 3,944 job placements. Of these, 392, or 10 per- cent, were identified on DOCrecords as being related to the CJI training received. Jobs under the title “Laborer” were identified as the most fre- quently obtained, representing 123, or 31 percent, of the c&related placements. For the cn-related group, the average hourly salary obtained was $5.90. According to not officials, the perceived low number of reported CJI- related placements is attributable to several noneducation factors. These factors are (1) the practice of inmates taking the first available job in order to be eligible for parole; (2) the practice of inmates taking a non- a-related job because it provided better benefits, especially medical; and (3) the lack and/or cost of transportation, causing inmates to take jobs close to their homes. The chronic overcrowding that exists in the District’s correctional system, a problem that goes well beyond the education program, presents a significant challenge to providing effective education. MXI estimated that at the end of fiscal year 1989, the inmate population exceeded capacity by 23 percent. According to DOCofficials, over- crowding results in inmate transfers that cause breaks in an inmate’s education and creates an environment that is not conducive to learning. During our job placement records analysis, we became aware of signifi- Data Errors in DOC’s cant data accuracy problems in LX’S computerized placement records. Job Placement File These problems were as follows: l Incomplete data on (X-related placements. Our initial analysis of ooc placement records showed that 45 percent did not indicate whether the placement was related to the CJI training the inmate had received. To deal with this deficiency, the DOCCoordinator of Job Placement and Arts in Prison Program reviewed the computerized records and decided whether the job placement was related to the training received. Page 16 GAO/GGD90-89 D.C. Gmwnmen~ How Many lntnates Obtained a Job Related to the CJI Tmhinjj Received? l Inconsistent data on CJI participation. Analysis of the records after the job placement coordinator had completed her review showed there were 427 c.n-related placements. However, analysis of the c&related place- ments showed that for 36 of these (8 percent), the inmate who obtained the job did not participate in any education program. These 35 records were not included in our c&related placement analysis but were included in the nona analysis. l Inaccurate/Incomplete data on salaries. In analyzing hourly salary data, we noted that some records showed weekly rather than hourly salary data, showed no salary data, or showed what appeared to be unreason- able data (e.g., 50 cents per hour). Because of these problems, we included only job placement records that showed hourly salaries of between $3 and $20. This methodology was agreed to by the hoc job placement coordinator. As a consequence, 198 (5 percent) of the total 3,944 placement records were not included in our salary analysis. l Incomplete job title information. While analyzing job titles, we noted that 319, (1 m-related and 318 nona-related) or 8 percent, of the placements did not contain a job title. Also, DOCdoes not maintain any job description data in its computerized records. Thus, we could not determine why a particular job was identified as cn-related. l No standard job titles. MW=does not use standardized job titles. It records the job title as it is provided by the employer. This practice and the lack of job description data precluded any meaningful analysis of the types of jobs obtained. For example, the following jobs associated with sheet metal work were reported: sheet metal, sheet metal approx., sheet metal work, and sheet metal mech. These four titles could represent the same, similar, or different jobs within the same trade. District managers need reasonably complete, standardized, and accurate data to make management decisions and evaluate program results. How- ever, our analysis of D&S job placement records showed that the data contained in those records were incomplete (for CJI participation, sala- ries, and job titles), not standardized (for job titles), and inaccurate (for CJI participation and salaries). Standardization of job titles would allow DOCto more accurately determine what type of jobs its inmates are obtaining. Further limiting DOCmanagers’ abilities to evaluate program results and effectiveness is the lack of information in the placement records that could provide a complete profile of the job obtained and its relationship to the training received. This necessary information includes ( 1) job descriptive data, (2) why a particular placement was deemed to be related to the CJI training received, and (3) any noneducation factors Page 17 GAO/GGIMO-89 D.C. Govemment How Many hnates Obtained a Job Related to the CJI Tr8lning Received? that influenced an inmate to take a particular job. Until the existing data problems are corrected and the additional data elements added, we believe that a significant shortfall exists in hoc’s job placement database, reducing its usefulness to Mx: management. On the basis of the limited data available, for the time period October 1, CJI-Related 1986, to June 30,1989, our analysis showed there were 3,944 job place- Placements Represent ments. Of these, 392, or 10 percent, were identified as being related to 10 Percent of Total the CJI training the inmate received. We found no appreciable increase in the ratio of c.n-related placements to total placements during the time Placements period we analyzed. Figure III. 1 shows the number of placements by fiscal quarter. Figure 111.1:Job Phcements by Fircel Querter, October 1,1906, to June 30,198g lM6 Numbuofplacmds 636 ml 804 737 670 603 636 466 I L 402 336 266 Ew lizI, Qurlr lm7 aaler 1#1 aumtu 1383 Quftr 1333 Quhr 1383 Qumu 1333 EL amrbr 13.3 1323 aumlu 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 4 1 2 3 Fbml yuand quarm Note 1: There were a total of 3,944 placements of which 392 were CJI-related placements Note 2: Ten percent of al placements from October 1, 1966. to June 30, 1989, were CJI related P8ge 18 GAO/GGD90-89 D.C. Covemmen Appends JII How Many Inmates Obtained a Job Rehted to the CJl Trdning Received? While the CJI-related placements represent 10 percent of the total place- ments, it should be noted that many of the inmates who obtained non- CJI-related placements were participants in a CJI education program. Of the 3,552 non-CJI placements, 1,868, or 53 percent, showed that the inmates who obtained those placements were enrolled in a CJI education program. For those inmates, a DOC vocational development specialist decided that the job obtained did not relate to the CJI training. uoc officials said the perceived low number of c&related placements is influenced by several noneducation factors. One factor is that inmates are taking the first available job, whether or not it relates to the cx training, in order to be eligible for parole. The D.C. Board of Parole requires an inmate to have employment in order to be paroled. According to an official of the Board, while it does not keep statistics relating to this subject, it does appear that inmates are taking the first available job in order to be eligible for parole. A second factor noted was that a vocational development specialist may recommend that an inmate take a nona-related job rather than a CJI- related job, if the specialist believes the former would be better for the inmate and/or the inmate’s family. For example, hoc considers jobs with medical benefits to be very desirable, especially if the inmate’s family has no medical coverage or is receiving its medical coverage as a result of welfare participation. If the non-en job offers medical benefits while the cn-related job does not, the specialist would probably recommend the non-en-related job. The final decision, however, is the inmate’s. The availability and cost of transportation were also noted as factors affecting job selection. The DCMZjob placement coordinator noted that because of transportation limitations, some inmates prefer a job close to their homes regardless of the job’s relationship to the training they received. Our initial analysis of job titles showed there were 764 separate job Most Common Job titles reported in DOCrecords. However, DOCdoes not use standard job Obtained-Laborer titles but instead reports the title provided by the employer. In order to adequately report on the type of job obtained, we grouped all the jobs that appeared similar under separate titles. For example, under our title “Warehouseman” we included the following job titles reported in the computerized records-warehouse, warehousemen, warehouseman, warehouse person, and warehouse worker. Our effort resulted in reducing the number of separate titles from 764 to 534. Page 19 GAOpXZMO-89 D.C. Gommment Appendix Ill How Many Inmatea ObWned a Job Belated to the CJI +lbhing Received? The job title with the greatest number of placements was “Laborer.” That title accounted for 1,273, or 35 percent, of all the placements that had job titles. Regarding CJI training-related placements, the “Laborer” title accounted for 123 placements, or 31 percent. For non-CJI-related placements, it represented 1,150 placements, or 36 percent. Figures III.2 and III.3 show the 10 job titles with the highest number of placements for cx-related placements as well as noncJr-related placements. Figure 111.2:Most Frequently Obtained Job for Inmates With CJI-Related 36 Pucaltotu~~lobs Training, October 1,1966, to June 30, 1969 33 !M r- 24 21 18 15 12 0 6 3 0 Jobuuaa Note 1: Based on 391 CJI-related placements that had job titles. Note 2: Al\ remaining )ob Wes each represented 1 percent or less of the total C&related placements Page 20 GAO/GGDtXM39 DK. Governmet Appendix III HOWhiany hnatea Obtd.ned (LJob Recited to the CJI Trdnlng Recehd? Figure 111.3:Moat Frequently Obtained I Job for Inmates Wfthout CJI-Related PU wltdNofleJlrolatodk(w Training, October 1,1988, to June 30, 1989 36 33 36 27 24 21 19 15 12 9 6 3 0 Note 1: Percentages are based on a total of 3552 job placements that had job titles Note 2: All remaining job titles each represented 1 percent or less of the total job placements According to DW officials, while they can locate a job for any inmate who wants one, the typical jobs available are for unskilled laborers and have little upward mobility. They attribute this to (1) the bias associ- ated with hiring ex-convicts, (2) the high level of competition for all jobs due to the above average level of education of the local population, and (3) inmates wanting jobs close to home because of transportation availa- bility and cost. 3 Averagekss Salaries to June 30, 1989, was $5.80 per hour. For c.u-training-related jobs it was Than$6.00PerHour $6.90, and for noncJr-related jobs it was $5.79. There was no appreci- able salary increase for either group during the time period analyzed. Table III.4 shows average salary received, by fiscal year. Page 21 GAO/GGD9lM9 D.C. Go~cmment Appendix III How Many hnates obtained a Job Related to the CJI Trdning Received? Table 111.1:Average Hourty Salary, Fiscal Years 1987 Through 1989 Non-CJI- related Fiscal year CJI- related jobs jobs 1987 3588 $5 72 1988 5.08 5.84 1989 5.91 5 78 Average $5.90 $5.79 Averaae for all Dlacements $5.80 Since fiscal year 1983, DOC’Sinmate population has grown by 84 percent. Prison Crowding-A Figures III.5 and III.6 show the locations at which inmates are housed Significant Problem and the population change at these locations between fiscal years 1983 and 1989. Facing the Education Program Figure 111.4:Inmate Year-End Population by Fiscal Year, 1983 Through 1989 15 Thowuaotlnrmdr 14 13 12 11 r 10 9 6 7 6 5 4 3 2 1 loo3 1904 1#6 ls88 law 1Qw low Pbal yar Note: The Inmate population increased by 64 percent dunng the time period covered by lhls figure. Page 22 GAO/GGD9089 D.C. Governmr How Mmy hnatee Obtained a Job Related to the CII Trdnhg Recehd? Figure 111.5:Inmate Year-End Population by Facility, Fiscal Years 1993 Through 1999 Mum&r ol inmdr 6216 5772 5326 4964 4440 3996 3652 3103 2664 2po 1778 1332 666 444 0 1oIJ 1W 1SM I#88 1@#7 lM# 19.8 MY- 1 J Dcdemtbn Halfway houaea While the number of inmates has increased, the District’s physical plant capacity has not kept pace. On the basis of D&S fiscal yearend 1989 population level, DOCestimated that the inmate population exceededthe physical plant population capacity by 23 percent. not projects that the inmate population will exceedcapacity until at least fiscal year 1992. DCEofficials claim that chronic crowding has made it difficult to ensure continuity in education programs. To avoid violation of court orders regarding population limits, DOCmust move inmates from one District facility to another or to another jurisdiction’s correctional facility. These transfers result in breaks in inmate education programs. For example, an inmate transferred to another jurisdiction may not have any educa- tion opportunity if none is offered by the receiving institution. According to the former MX:Director, many of the transferred inmates Page 23 GAO/GGD-QWB D.C. Gomrmment -. Appendix III How Many Inmate0 Obtained a Job Related to the CJI Training Received? were enrolled in the DW education program. These inmates are prime candidates for selection for transfer because their involvement in educa- tion is considered a positive behavioral factor, and thus they are more acceptable to the receiving jurisdiction. Overcrowding also presents a negative environment for education, according to the not Deputy Director for Operations. For example, space may not be available to provide the opportunity for quality time for stu- dents to study. He said that it is very difficult for inmates to effectively study in a noisy, overcrowded area where they are concerned about their physical safety. Page 24 Appeidix IV Comments of the District of Columbia Government GOVERNMENT OF THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA EXECUTIVE OFFICE OFFICE OF THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR CAROL 8. THOMPSON DEPUTY MAYOR FOR OPERATIONS CITY ADMINISTRATOR DEPUTY MAYOR FOR OPERATIONS 1350 PENNSYLVANIA AVE., N.W. - RM. 507 WASHINOTON, DC. 20004 MAYI 7 19% Richard L. Fogcl Assistant Comptroller General U.S. General Accounting Office 441 G Street, N.W. Room 3860 Washington, D.C. 20548 Dear Mr. Fogel: In reply to your letter dated April 2, 1990. please find enclosed the comments of the District government to your draft report titled, "Non-Education Factors Hindered Criminal Jurtice Initiative". Please direct further inquiries regarding this ratter to Marc Loud of my staff at, 727-6053. Sinstly, - City Administrator/Deputy l'layor fbr for Operations - Enclosure Page21 GAO/GGD9OSSD.C.Government Appendix Iv Commenta of the Dbtrict of C4hmbia Government Government of the District of Columbia DEPARTMENT OF CORRECTIONS SUIIC N-203 1923 Vcrmon! Avenue. N W. Warhmgton. D.C. Z&WI Dffice of the Director MAY16 1990 MEMORANDUM TO : Carol B. Thompson City Administrator/Deputy Mayor Director SUBJECT: Response to GAO Audit titled "Non-Education Factors Hindered Criminal Justice Initiative" The aseessment of this agency is that the conclusions drawn in this report, ae they relate to the education program, have been generally accepted aL1 along and are not new. During the pact several years we Slave devtioptd new procedures, with the result that the prccurtment process has been improved, and through the decentralization of day-to-day management of educational programs, we believe communication among security staff, facility managers and the education staff is more open and productive. In regards to the job placement function, we are cognizant of the concerns as outlined, and have already begun to initiate new proceduree. I will briefly discuss each GAO recommendation: 0 Review existing job placement input controls to determine how t&c ac-Tracy of the data can be improved. 1. We have identified one person to input all job placement data into the system submitted from halfway houses. The error rate has already been reduced, as have incomplete/inaccurate data. 2. Additional WICAT computers are in place to facilitate the input process. 3. We have also identified a quality assurance team to review current controls for accuracy and to make further recommendations for improvement. Page26 GAO/GGD-9999D.C.Govemmer lrppeadixw comlaeatdof the Dbtrict of C4AumbiaGovenu0ent 0 -lop standardized job title infoxmmtion ao that all similar job placementa am grow under the same job title. 1. The department haa ordered the GIS (Guidance Information Syatam) aoftwaro which will standardize our job title information for us. 2. Thrar staff membora have already bean trained by the Department of Employmsnt Sorvicea on the use of this software. 3. A target date of September 1, 1990 haa been identified to have all staff trained and using the GIS aoftwaro. 0 Provide in thm coquterired record, info-tion relating to (1) job daacrlption, (2) why a particular placement was dead to k rmlatti to tba CJI training received, uxl (3) any non-education factor8 that Influenced anitmate to take l pmrtlculu job. 1. We are also purchasing the aoftwara related to the Dictionary of Occupational Titles, which llata conventional job descriptions. Tha Department of Employment Sarvicaa is providing us technical l aaiatance to put this in place. 2. The quality l aauranco team ham also been asked to develop a procedure for documenting factors that relate to job plmxmant. They have been given a deadline of September 1, 1990 for this project. ~a thoam areas that we have identified for further development are completed, I will keep you informed. Page27 GAO/GGIMO4l9D.C.Govemment Appendix V - Major Contributors to This Report John Stahl, Assistant Director, Federal Management Issues Genera3Government John A. Parulis, Evaluator-in-Charge Division. Washirxton, I Gregory Wilmoth, Senior Social Science Analyst Marsha A. Matthews, Secretary (426676) Page 28 GAO/GGD90-89 DC. Govern1
D.C. Government: Noneducation Factors Hindered Criminal Justice Initiative
Published by the Government Accountability Office on 1990-06-27.
Below is a raw (and likely hideous) rendition of the original report. (PDF)