The Office of the Inspector General, Audit Division, has completed an audit of the Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Program (SVORI), Grant No. 2003‑RE‑CX‑0001, in the amount of $2,386,908 (including one supplement) awarded by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), the Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), to the Nebraska Department of Correctional Services (NDCS). The purpose of the award is to provide funding to state and local units of government to develop and implement institutional and community corrections-based offender reentry programs through collaborative partnerships with government, social service, faith-based, and community organizations, in order to reduce recidivism, increase public safety, and successfully reintegrate serious and violent offenders back into the community.
Since 1984, OJP has provided federal leadership in developing the nation's capacity to prevent and control crime, improve the criminal and juvenile justice systems, increase knowledge about crime and related issues, and assist crime victims. As a component of OJP, BJA is dedicated to the mission of providing leadership and assistance in support of local criminal justice strategies that improve and reinforce the nation’s criminal justice system. The BJA's overall goals are to: (1) reduce and prevent crime, violence, and drug abuse and (2) improve the functioning of the criminal justice system.
To this end, the SVORI program was developed through a federal partnership between the Departments of Justice, Labor, Health and Human Service, Education, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Veterans Affairs, and Agriculture. The goal of this partnership was to help state and local agencies navigate the complex field of existing state formula and block grants and to assist states in accessing, redeploying, and leveraging the necessary resources to support the components of a comprehensive reentry program.
The NDCS dates back to 1851 when it served as the Nebraska Territory Prison. Today it is Nebraska’s largest criminal justice agency and is one of thirteen prison systems in the nation that are fully accredited by the American Correctional Association. Through its commitment to providing effective protection for citizens of Nebraska, the NDCS developed and implemented a SVORI program that focused on increasing public safety by providing comprehensive services and supervision from prison to home for offenders between the ages of 18 and 65 years old who are returning to Omaha. The NDCS partnered with various service agencies to address the challenges of recidivism, substance abuse, physical and mental health, as well as provide support in the area of education, workforce participation, housing, faith-based support, and other services as appropriate.
The purpose of this audit was to determine whether reimbursements claimed for costs under the grant were allowable, supported, and in accordance with applicable laws, regulations, guidelines, and terms and conditions of the grant, and to determine program performance and accomplishments. The objective of our audit was to review performance in the following areas: (1) internal control environment, (2) drawdowns, (3) grant expenditures, including personnel, (4) budget management and control, (5) financial status and categorical assistance progress reports (Progress Reports), (6) grant requirements, (7) program performance and accomplishments, and (8) monitoring of subgrantees and contractors. We determined that matching, indirect costs, property management, and program income, were not applicable to this grant. As shown in Table 1 below, the NDCS was awarded a total of $2,386,908 under the grant.
TABLE 1. SERIOUS AND VIOLENT OFFENDER REENTRY PROGRAM
GRANT AWARDED TO THE NDCS
We examined the NDCS’s accounting records, financial and progress reports, and operating policies and procedures and found:
- Documentation supporting the required performance measures was not maintained. NDCS officials agreed with our finding; however, since the grant period had ended we make no recommendation for corrective action.
These items are discussed in detail in the Findings and Recommendations section of the report. Our audit objectives, scope, and methodology are discussed in Appendix I.