Semiannual Report to Congress
October 1, 2006-March 31, 2007
Office of the Inspector General
|The USMS is responsible for protecting more than 2, 000 federal judges and other members of the federal judiciary; arresting federal, state, and local fugitives; protecting federal witnesses; transporting federal prisoners; managing assets seized from criminal enterprises; and responding to special assignments. The Director and Deputy Director work with 94 U.S. Marshals to direct the work of approximately 4,800 employees at more than 350 locations throughout the 50 states, Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, U.S. Virgin Islands, Mexico, Jamaica, and the Dominican Republic.|
The USMS’s Management of the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System
The OIG’s Audit Division audited the Justice Prisoner and Alien Transportation System (JPATS), a USMS program that provides air transport of prisoners and aliens in federal custody within the continental United States, Central America, and the Caribbean. We found several deficiencies in JPATS, including a lack of planning to predict future capacity needs, a failure to reduce costs by maximizing the number of passengers scheduled for each flight, and inadequate mechanisms to ensure that certain safety procedures are followed.
Despite the fact that the overall demand for prisoner and alien transportation has grown over the past 6 years, our audit found that JPATS has not yet developed a planning tool that allows it to project prisoner and alien movements more than 1 year into the future. This lack of capacity planning has led to underutilization of available seats on JPATS aircraft because JPATS has not amended its flight schedules to maintain a more optimal use of its resources. For example, in our review of flight data from 1,034 flights between FY 2004 and the first quarter of FY 2006, we found that 74 percent of the seats were filled on flights originating from one of the three hubs reviewed, but less than half of the seats were filled on flights originating from the two remaining hubs. In addition, we found that JPATS has been using short-term leases for its large aircraft since early 2005 despite studies by the Government Accountability Office and OFDT that found cost savings could be realized either by purchasing the aircraft or entering into long-term leases.
While our audit noted that JPATS has developed adequate internal policies to ensure that it conducts its air transportation in a safe and secure manner, we found that JPATS generally does not have the necessary systems in place to adhere to its own standards on safety and security. For example, we found 57 instances where JPATS crew members did not appear to have received the entitled rest prescribed by JPATS policy. We also found that improvements were needed to ensure that JPATS met its objectives in security staffing.
Our report contained 15 recommendations for USMS to develop capacity planning tools; replace the current, expensive short-term aircraft leases with long-term options; and develop mechanisms to ensure that JPATS safety and security policies are followed. The USMS agreed with all of our recommendations and is in the process of implementing them.
During this reporting period, the OIG received 212 complaints involving the USMS. The most common allegations made against USMS employees included job performance failure and other official misconduct, misuse of a credit card, and use of unnecessary force. The OIG opened 7 investigations and referred other allegations to the USMS’s Office of Internal Affairs for review.
At the close of the reporting period, the OIG had 16 open cases of alleged misconduct against USMS employees. The following is an example of a case involving the USMS that the OIG’s Investigations Division investigated during this reporting period:
The OIG’s Chicago Field Office investigated allegations that a U.S. Marshal allegedly used USMS funds to pay overtime and buy gifts for a USMS contract guard who allegedly was his girlfriend or wife. The OIG investigation did not develop evidence to substantiate these allegations, but found that the U.S. Marshal was responsible for the hiring of the USMS contract guard and had a personal and financial relationship with her that constituted a conflict of interest. The case was declined for prosecution, and the OIG referred the case to the USMS for appropriate action.
The OIG is reviewing the USMS’s efforts to protect the federal judiciary. This is a follow-up to our 2004 inspection of the USMS’s efforts since September 11, 2001, to improve its protection of the federal judiciary, focusing specifically on the USMS’s ability to assess reported threats against the judiciary, collect and analyze intelligence to identify potential threats against the judiciary, and determine appropriate measures to protect members of the federal judiciary during high-threat trials and while they are away from the courthouse. The follow-up review also examines the USMS’s efforts to implement preventive measures such as home alarms to protect federal judges.
The USMS’s Workforce Composition
The OIG is auditing how the USMS’s management of its human resources is affecting its organizational performance. Specifically, we are examining the USMS’s workforce planning efforts and reviewing spending, utilization, and program data to determine whether resources are used efficiently and effectively to achieve organizational objectives. We also are assessing whether the USMS is providing adequate and appropriate training to its employees.
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