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GAO-10-854R: 

United States Government Accountability Office: 
Washington, DC 20548: 

July 14, 2010: 

The Honorable Barbara Mikulski: 
Chairman:
The Honorable Richard Shelby:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies:
Committee on Appropriations:
U.S. Senate: 

The Honorable Alan Mollohan:
Chairman:
The Honorable Frank R. Wolf:
Ranking Member:
Subcommittee on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies:
Committee on Appropriations:
House of Representatives: 

Subject: Federal Bureau of Prisons: BOP Has Mechanisms in Place to 
Address Most Second Chance Act Requirements and Is Working to 
Implement an Initiative Designed to Reduce Recidivism: 

This letter formally transmits the enclosed briefing in response to 
the Conference Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2010 Consolidated 
Appropriations Act (H.R. Rep. No. 111-366, at 673-74 (2009) (Conf. 
Rep)), which directed us to evaluate BOP's strategic approach to 
budgeting for its inmate re-entry programs, including activities 
related to the Second Chance Act (SCA). To conduct this work, we 
analyzed the Federal Bureau of Prison's (BOP) programs, activities, 
and management initiatives that play a key role in implementing SCA 
requirements, such as the Inmate Skills Development Initiative (ISDI). 
Through ISDI, BOP intends to measure skills inmates acquired through 
effective reentry programs with the goal of reducing rates of 
recidivism. We also evaluated BOP's processes and initiatives that 
play a key role in implementing SCA, such as ISDI, to determine the 
extent to which BOP followed leading practices for planning, 
implementing, and identifying resources needed for projects. 

In summary, BOP has mechanisms in place to address most SCA 
requirements and is working to implement ISDI to meet the remaining 
requirements, estimated to be complete in 2014 at the earliest. 
However, BOP has not fully applied leading program management 
practices to its efforts to implement ISDI, an initiative which could 
strengthen BOP's ability to facilitate the successful re-entry of 
inmates into their communities by addressing inmate skills gaps. 
Specifically, BOP has not fully developed a detailed ISDI 
implementation plan, including a comprehensive cost estimate. BOP 
officials stated that they have not fully developed a detailed ISDI 
implementation plan, including a cost estimate, because key decisions 
that would affect the project plan and schedule are pending. Until BOP 
develops an implementation plan and cost estimate, it may be difficult 
to assess BOP's progress towards realizing ISDI and identify ISDI's 
impact on the successful reentry of inmates into their communities. 
Thus, we are recommending that BOP establish a plan for the remaining 
steps needed to implement SCA requirements, specifically ISDI, and 
develop a comprehensive cost estimate for the remaining ISDI 
requirements that should include costs associated with data validation 
and program evaluation, among others. For additional information and a 
summary of the results of our work, see slide 10. 

In commenting on a draft of this briefing, the Department of Justice 
concurred with our recommendations and provided technical comments 
that we incorporated where appropriate. 

We are sending copies of this report to the appropriate congressional 
committees. We are also sending copies to the Attorney General of the 
United States, as well as the Director of the Federal Bureau of 
Prisons. This report will also be available at no charge on our Web 
site at [hyperlink, http://www.gao.gov]. Should you or your staff have 
questions concerning this report, please contact me at (202) 512-8777 
or MaurerD@gao.gov. Contact points for our Offices of Congressional 
Relations and Public Affairs may be found on the last page of this 
report. Key contributors to this report were Glenn Davis, Assistant 
Director; Karen Richey, Assistant Director; Janet Temko, Senior 
Attorney; Pedro Almoguera, Senior Economist; Lori Kmetz, Senior 
Analyst; Anthony Fernandez, Senior Analyst; and Darreisha Bates, 
Analyst. 

Signed by: 

David C. Maurer:
Director, Homeland Security and Justice: 

Enclosure: 

[End of section] 

Briefing Slides: 

Federal Bureau of Prisons: BOP Has Mechanisms in Place to Address Most 
Second Chance Act Requirements and Is Working to Implement an 
Initiative Designed to Reduce Recidivism: 

Briefing for Subcommittees on Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related
Agencies, Committees on Appropriations, United States Senate and House 
of Representatives: 

June 30, 2010: 

Briefing Overview: 
* Introduction; 
* Objectives, Scope, and Methodology; 
* Summary; 
* Background; 
* Findings; 
* Conclusions; 
* Recommendations; 
* Agency Comments and Our Evaluation; 
* Appendix I; 
* Appendix II. 

Introduction: 

The Second Chance Act of 2007: Community Safety through Recidivism 
Prevention (SCA),[Footnote 1] which imposed new requirements on the 
Federal Bureau of Prisons (BOP) to facilitate the successful re-entry 
of offenders into their communities and reduce the rate of recidivism, 
was enacted in April 2008.[Footnote 2] 

BOP's SCA requirements include, among others, identifying, tracking, 
addressing, and reporting on inmate skills needs; providing medical 
support to inmates for re-entry, including through community 
partnerships; and reporting to Congress on recidivism rates. 

In December 2009, Congress raised questions regarding the cost—
estimated by BOP earlier that year to be approximately $75 million—to 
implement BOP's requirements under SCA. 

Congress directed BOP to provide a detailed description of the 
coordinated prisoner re-entry strategy required by SCA, along with the 
estimated costs of full implementation of the strategy as part of its 
fiscal year 2011 budget submission. 

The Conference Report accompanying the Fiscal Year 2010 Consolidated 
Appropriations Act directed us to evaluate BOP's strategic approach to 
budgeting for its inmate re-entry programs, including SCA activities. 
[Footnote 3] In accordance with this mandate, this briefing addresses 
the following two objectives: 

1. To what extent has BOP developed mechanisms to implement programs 
and activities pursuant to SCA? 

2. To what extent has BOP followed leading practices of program 
management, including estimating cost, to implement its process to 
facilitate the successful re-entry of inmates into their communities? 

[End of section] 

Scope and Methodology: Objective 1: 

To determine the BOP mechanisms in place to implement the required SCA 
programs and activities, we: 

* analyzed the SCA and identified 12 requirements within the 
legislation that require BOP implementation; 

* analyzed BOP documentation of policy changes related to the SCA, 
including federal regulations, policy papers, statements of work, 
memoranda for chief executive officers, and BOP program statements, 
which set out program changes and guidance, to determine if BOP 
established mechanisms to implemented SCA requirements; 

* analyzed the status of specific BOP processes or management 
initiatives that play a key role in implementing SCA requirements, 
such as the Inmate Skills Development Initiative (ISDI), which is 
BOP's process that measures skills inmates acquire through effective 
re-entry programs with the goal of reducing rates of recidivism; and; 

* interviewed knowledgeable officials to learn how BOP implemented its 
SCA responsibilities. 

We compared the information provided in BOP documents and reported by 
officials with the SCA requirements and identified the mechanisms BOP 
has in place to enable it to meet SCA requirements and those for which 
it is developing mechanisms. We did not determine whether BOP had 
fully complied with all SCA requirements nor did we evaluate the 
effectiveness of the actions BOP has taken to implement SCA. 

* Mechanisms in place—BOP has documented policies, regulations, 
memoranda of understanding, reports or other mechanisms to enable BOP 
to meet SCA requirements; and; 

* Mechanisms in progress—BOP has provided documentation that 
mechanisms are being developed to enable BOP to meet SCA requirements. 

Scope and Methodology: Objective 2: 

To determine the extent to which BOP has followed leading practices of 
program management, including estimating cost, to implement its 
process to facilitate the successful re-entry of inmates into their 
communities, we: 

* analyzed Congressional Budget Office SCA implementation cost 
estimates and the President's Congressional Budget Justification 
submissions for BOP from fiscal years 2008 through 2011 to understand 
the cost implications of the SCA, and BOP's justification for its 
funding requests; 

* reviewed criteria presented in GAO's Cost Estimating and Assessment 
Guide, specifically chapters 7 (Technical Baseline Description, 
Definition and Purpose) and 18 (Managing Program Costs: Planning), as 
well as The Standard for Program Management to determine leading 
practices for planning, implementing, and identifying resources needed 
for projects;[Footnote 4] 

* evaluated BOP's processes and initiatives that play a key role in 
implementing SCA, such as ISDI, to determine the extent to which BOP 
followed leading practices for planning, implementing, and identifying 
resources needed for projects. 

* relied on BOP data to determine a likely range of costs related to 
the number of inmates in Residential Reentry Centers (RRC, known as 
halfway houses) and length of stay; 

* interviewed BOP officials about the sources of the data and the 
controls BOP had in place to maintain the integrity of the data and 
determined that the data were sufficiently reliable for the purposes 
of our report; and; 

* interviewed BOP budget and program officials and reviewed available 
documentation of the activities BOP has taken to implement SCA 
requirements, and compared these efforts with select program 
management and cost estimating criteria, to determine additional 
actions, if any, needed to fully implement SCA requirements. 

Scope and Methodology: 

We conducted this performance audit from January 2010 through June 
2010 in accordance with generally accepted government auditing 
standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the work 
to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable 
basis for our findings and conclusions based on our objectives. We 
believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our 
findings and conclusions based on our objectives. 

[End of section] 

Summary: 

BOP has mechanisms in place to address most SCA requirements and is 
working to implement ISDI to meet the remaining requirements, 
estimated to be complete in 2014 at the earliest. Through ISDI, BOP 
intends to assess inmate skill levels, target programming 
recommendations, and measure skills inmates acquire through effective 
re-entry programs, with the goal of reducing rates of recidivism. 

BOP is developing ISDI to facilitate the successful re-entry of 
inmates into their communities by addressing inmate skills deficits. 
Applying leading management practices—including an implementation plan 
for the remaining ISDI work, and cost estimate—could strengthen BOP's 
ability to facilitate the successful re-entry of inmates into their 
communities. BOP officials stated that they have not developed a 
detailed ISDI implementation plan and cost estimate for the remaining 
ISDI work because key decisions that would impact the project plan and 
schedule are pending. Until BOP does so, it may be difficult to assess 
BOP's progress towards realizing ISDI and identify ISDI's impact on 
the successful re-entry of inmates into their communities. 

We recommend that BOP establish a plan for the final steps to 
implement SCA requirements, specifically ISDI, and develop a 
comprehensive cost estimate for the remaining ISDI requirements. 

[End of section] 

Background: 

Congress passed SCA, among other things, to encourage the development 
and support of, and to expand the availability of, programs that 
enhance public safety and reduce recidivism. 

BOP uses inmate re-entry programs to reduce recidivism. Re-entry 
programs assist inmates in acquiring skills needed for reintegration 
into the community through various services, including educational and 
vocational training, work programs, and drug rehabilitation. 

According to the fiscal year 2011 President's Congressional Budget 
Justification for BOP, in fiscal years 2009 and 2010, BOP reported 
that funding for its inmate reentry programs was about $500 million 
and $560 million, respectively, and its inmate re-entry program 
funding request for fiscal year 2011 is for about $580 million. 

BOP officials report that as of June 2010, they are responsible for 
the custody and care of about 211,000 federal inmates. 

[End of section] 

Findings: 

Objective 1: BOP Has Mechanisms in Place to Address Most of Its SCA 
Requirements: 

BOP has mechanisms in place to address 9 of 12 SCA requirements, as 
shown in table 1. For example, BOP has a 2008 memorandum of 
understanding with the Social Security Administration and a December 
2007 internal Program Statement for the Inmate Release Preparation 
Program in place, which outlines actions to help inmates apply for 
benefits. BOP officials stated that they are developing mechanisms for 
the remaining SCA requirements. 

BOP provided documentation to demonstrate its progress in meeting SCA 
requirements, including federal regulations, policy papers, statements 
of work, memoranda for chief executive officers, and BOP program 
statements, which set out program changes and guidance. 

In assessing whether BOP had mechanisms in place to address SCA 
requirements, we did not determine whether BOP had fully complied with 
all SCA requirements nor did we evaluate the effectiveness of the 
actions BOP has taken to implement SCA. Therefore, where we state that 
BOP has "mechanisms in place" to address an SCA requirement, it does 
not necessarily mean that BOP has done all that is necessary to 
implement that particular requirement or that it has done so 
effectively. See appendix I for additional information on BOP's 
actions taken for the SCA requirements. 

Table 1: GAO Assessment of BOP's 12 Statutory Requirements: 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 213: Adopt and implement a 
policy to ensure that mentors to inmates are allowed to continue the 
mentoring relationship once the offender is released, and provide 
Congress with a status report; 
Mechanism in place. 
	
Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 214: Discontinue a program to 
standardize religious materials available in BOP chapel libraries; 
Mechanism in place. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: §§ 231(a)(1), 231(d)(2): 
Establish a strategy that assesses inmates' skills, develops skills 
development plans, determines program assignments, gives priority to 
high-risk inmate populations, coordinates with partners nationwide to 
assist in inmate re-entry, and provides incentives for participation 
in skills development programs; code and track inmate needs, evaluate 
and report on progress addressing those needs.[Footnote 5] 
Mechanism in progress. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 231(b): Assist inmates in 
obtaining identification, such as a Social Security card or driver's 
license prior to release; 
Mechanism in place. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 231(c): Modify policies and 
procedures related to the transition of inmates to the community; 
Mechanism in progress. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 231(d)(1): Help inmates apply 
for federal/state benefits, and provide information on education and 
employment, among other areas; 
Mechanism in place. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 231(d)(3): Report to Congress 
on recidivism rates for inmates in re-entry programs compared to 
general population.[Footnote 6] 
Mechanism in progress. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 231(d)(4): Use common 
terminology and language on re-entry-related written information BOP 
provides to inmates; 
Mechanism in place. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 231(d)(5): Alert probation 
system of the medical/mental health needs of releasing inmates and 
provide necessary medications; 
Mechanism in place. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 231(f): Give inmates in 
community confinement facilities access to medical/mental health care 
through local partnerships; 
Mechanism in place. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 231(g): Create a pilot 
program for early release to home detention of eligible elderly 
inmates; 
Mechanism in place. 

Second Chance Act—-BOP is required to: § 251: Place eligible inmates 
in a community confinement for not more than 12 months (previously 6 
months or 10% of the inmate's sentence, whichever is less) and issue 
associated regulations; 
Mechanism in place. 

[End of table] 

Objective 1: BOP Plans to Complete the Remaining Requirements through 
Implementation of a Process to Enhance Inmate Skills: 

The focal point of BOP's efforts to address the remaining SCA 
requirements is ISDI, which is estimated to be complete in the year 
2014 at the earliest. 

BOP's vision for ISDI (see figure 1) is to target inmate programming 
recommendations, based on skill deficits identified through the 
assessment process, with the ultimate goal of reducing recidivism 
rates by enhancing skills through effective programs. 

Another goal of ISDI, according to BOP officials, is to identify and 
track programs that meet the skills needs of inmates and reduce 
recidivism, expand access to those effective programs, and eliminate 
programs that are found not to meet the skills needs of inmates. 

BOP has begun to implement ISDI by conducting baseline inmate skills 
assessments of inmates in the federal prison system. Assessments are 
conducted through a structured interview, behavioral observations, and 
use of supplemental assessment instruments (e.g., Test of Adult Basic 
Education). 

According to BOP officials, the additional phases of ISDI are intended 
to match the inmate's assessed needs against re-entry programs 
designed to meet those identified inmate needs. 

Figure 1: BOP's Vision for the Inmate Skills Development Initiative: 

[Refer to PDF for image: illustration] 

Incarceration Begins, Inmate Placed in BOP Facility: 

BOP Conducts Baseline Inmate Skills Assessment Against Nine 
Competencies: 
* Daily Living; 
* Cognitive; 
* Mental Health; 
* Wellness; 
* Interpersonal; 
* Academic; 
* Vocational; 
* Leisure; 
* Character. 

BOP Targets Programs to Address Skill Needs: 

BOP Generates Inmate's Individual Development Plan: 
- BOP Tracks Progress to Address Inmate's Skill Needs
through Regular Program Reviews: 

BOP Transitions Inmate to Community Typically Through: 
* Residential re-entry Center (RRC) and/or; 
* Home Confinement. 

BOP Releases Inmate: 
Desired Outcome: Reduce Recidivism. 

Key Facts: 

* BOP officials reported that they release approximately 45,000 
inmates per year back into U.S. communities. 

* BOP prioritizes the inmate skills assessment process, focusing on 
new inmates, followed by prisoners slated for release within 1 to 4 
years. 

* BOP reported plans to undertake agencywide activities for the Inmate 
Skills Development Initiative, such as validating the quality of data 
collected on inmate skills needs, building community partnerships to 
strengthen re-entry programs, and measuring re-entry program outcomes. 

Source: GAO analysis of BOP documents. 

[End of figure] 

Objective 2: BOP's Use of Leading Program Management Practices Could 
Strengthen Its Ability to Facilitate the Successful Re-entry of 
Inmates into Their Communities: 

BOP is developing ISDI to facilitate the successful re-entry of 
inmates into their communities by addressing inmate skills deficits. 

In our review of select leading practices for program management, 
effective and efficient operations require detailed plans that capture 
key activities, delineate the program schedule, identify personnel 
requirements, and provide a comprehensive cost estimate. Applying 
these leading management practices to the work remaining in developing 
and implementing ISDI could strengthen BOP's ability to facilitate the 
successful re-entry of inmates into their communities, as shown in 
table 2. 

BOP has made progress in carrying out actions to fully implement ISDI, 
such as loading data for at least 78 percent of the inmate population 
in the ISDI database. According to BOP officials, while data for each 
inmate entered in the system may not be complete, staff are able to 
use the information in conjunction with other documentation as a basis 
for programming recommendations in preparation for reentry. Work 
remains to increase the completeness of the data, assess the quality 
of the data, and identify additional programs for linkage to skill 
deficits identified. See appendix II for a detailed description of 
BOP's work completed and work remaining for the actions necessary to 
fully implement ISDI. 

Table 2: ISDI Program Management Compared to Leading Practices: 
		
Leading practice: Capturing key activities; 
Explanation: Planning processes should identify key activities of a 
program with the needed operational details and serve as a plan for 
how the program will be managed; 
GAO analysis: 
* In planning documents we have reviewed, BOP has not fully identified 
the discrete activities that need to be completed related to ISDI 
work, such as for data validation. BOP developed a general strategy 
for ISDI in 2001 (with updates from 2004 through May 2010). These 
documents include summary-level phases, rather than key activities, 
and lack operational details. 
* BOP has completed a number of activities to implement ISDI. For 
example, a skills assessment instrument to collect information from 
inmates across the nine competency areas has been put into place along 
with training on its use. BOP has also identified ISDI work that 
remains to be completed, for example, the validation of the data used 
in the inmate assessments. 
* Capturing key activities—like those related to data validation—may 
help BOP plan, track, and maintain project control and ensure that all 
intended activities are completed and outcomes achieved. 

Leading practice: Delineating the program schedule; 
Explanation: Program schedules should identify key events, such as 
milestone reviews, and address key program activities, including their 
duration and sequence; 
GAO analysis: 
* In planning documents we have reviewed, BOP has not fully delineated 
an ISDI program schedule with discrete activities and their duration 
and sequence, including for activities to link an inmates’ skill 
deficits with programs to fill those deficits. BOP has provided time 
frames for a number of activities it has completed to implement ISDI. 
For example, in December 2002 the nine competencies were finalized; in 
August 2006, the inmate skills assessment instrument was developed. 
* In the 2010 strategic plan, scheduling for program linkage to skill 
deficits was categorized as ongoing or to be decided. This key aspect 
of ISDI renders it more than an automated case management system. 
* Delineating a complete program schedule may help BOP ensure that 
programs shown to meet inmates’ skill deficits through ISDI are 
expanded as soon as practicable. 

Leading practice: Identifying personnel requirements; 
Explanation: Roles and responsibilities for execution and management 
of the program should be identified, and linked to key activities and 
time frames; 
GAO analysis: 
* In planning documents we reviewed, BOP offices or individuals 
responsible for completing key implementation activities are not 
identified. For example, BOP has not identified who is responsible for 
ISDI’s key activities, such as conducting data validation and 
developing performance measures for BOP programs. BOP has identified 
the general responsibilities of the Program Linkage Committee (that is 
to complete program worksheets that identify skill areas/deficits) but 
its composition and roles and responsibilities of members are not yet 
known. 
* BOP officials report that regular, internal ISDI meetings include 
all relevant personnel needed to implement ISDI activities. 
* Identifying personnel requirements may help BOP instill 
accountability and responsibility for the ISDI activities that need to 
be completed. 

Leading practice: Estimating costs; 
Explanation: A cradle-to-grave cost estimate provides a comprehensive 
accounting of all resources required to develop and sustain a 
particular program; 
GAO analysis: 
* BOP has not developed a cost estimate for implementing ISDI in 
future years. BOP is currently gathering data to better inform a 
future cost estimate related to ISDI implementation; 
- BOP provided us a cost estimate for ISDI through fiscal year 2011, 
which states that future costs for program linkage have not yet been 
developed; 
- In addition, BOP has not yet identified future costs associated with 
data validation, training, program evaluations, development, and 
programming implementation, among other key activities; 
- BOP has identified funding for ISDI requested through the regular 
budget cycle that could be included in a comprehensive cost estimate. 

Source: GAO analysis based on evaluating BOP's provided documentation 
against select leading practices contained in GAO, Cost Estimating and 
Assessment Guide, GAO-09-3SP (Washington, D.C.: March 2009) and 
Project Management Institute's The Standard for 19 Program Management 
© (2006). 

[End of table] 

BOP officials stated that BOP had not fully captured key activities, 
delineated the program schedule, identified personnel requirements, 
and estimated costs because key decisions that would impact the 
project plan and schedule are pending. 

BOP's cost estimate for ISDI is not comprehensive. Cost estimating 
provides valuable information to help determine whether a program is 
feasible, how it should be designed, and resources needed to support 
it. 

It may be difficult for BOP to manage resources, make resource 
allocation decisions, and ensure accountability as a result of not 
taking these program management steps. Specifically, it may be 
difficult for BOP to estimate the future costs of implementation 
associated with ISDI because it has not fully delineated key 
activities, time lines, and roles and responsibilities; and it may be 
difficult to maximize resources without program controls to guide the 
ISDI implementation; and to inform the future allocation of resources 
for re-entry programs. 

[End of section] 

Conclusion: 

BOP has put in place mechanisms to fulfill most provisions of SCA and 
additional efforts are under way to complete ISDI implementation. ISDI 
is designed to allow BOP to determine the optimal allocation of 
resources for re-entry programs. Therefore, it is critical that BOP 
has sound management controls to guide the effort and ensure success. 

Applying leading management practices, including the development of a 
comprehensive and reliable cost estimate, to this process could help 
BOP ensure completion of ISDI and strengthen its ability to facilitate 
the successful re-entry of offenders into their communities. 

[End of section] 

Recommendations for Executive Action: 

To help ensure that BOP meets its requirements under the SCA, we 
recommend the Attorney General of the United States direct the BOP 
Director to take the following two actions: 

1. establish a plan for the remaining steps needed to implement ISDI 
that describes the key tasks necessary for its implementation, assigns 
responsibility for these tasks, and establishes time lines for 
implementation; and; 

2. develop a comprehensive cost estimate for the remaining ISDI 
requirements that, at a minimum, should include costs associated with 
data validation, training, program evaluations, development, and 
implementation, among other key activities. 

[End of section] 

Agency Comments: 

We provided a draft of these briefing slides to the Department of 
Justice (DOJ) and BOP for review and comment. In an e-mail received on 
June 25, 2010, DOJ concurred with the recommendations in our report 
and did not provide written comments to include in this report. DOJ 
also provided technical comments which we incorporated as appropriate. 

[End of section] 

Appendix I: BOP's Actions to Address SCA Requirements: 

Table 3: GAO Assessment of BOP's Actions Taken to Address 12 Statutory 
Requirements: 
			
Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: § 213: Adopt and implement a 
policy to ensure that mentors to inmates are allowed to continue the 
mentoring relationship once the offender is released, and provide 
Congress with a status report; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: BOP has a March 2009 policy expanding post release 
mentoring. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: § 214: Discontinue a program to 
standardize religious materials available in BOP chapel libraries; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: BOP has a September 2007 Memorandum for Chief Executive 
Officers titled "Chapel Library Project update," which discontinued 
the program. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §§ 231(a)(1), 231(d)(2): 
Establish a strategy that assesses inmates' skills, develops skills 
development plans, determines program assignments, gives priority to 
high-risk inmate populations, coordinates with partners nationwide to 
assist in inmate re-entry, and provides incentives for participation 
in skills development programs; code and track inmate needs, evaluate 
and report on progress addressing those needs. 
Mechanism in progress; 
Actions taken: See appendix II. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §231(b): Assist inmates in 
obtaining identification, such as a Social Security card or driver’s 
license,prior to release; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: BOP has a 2008 memorandum of understanding (MOU) with 
the Social Security Administration and a December 2007 internal 
Program Statement (PS) for the Inmate Release preparation program, 
which outlined actions to assist inmates in obtaining identification. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §231(c): Modify policies and 
procedures related to the transition of inmates to the community; 
Mechanism in progress; 
Actions taken: See appendix II. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §231(d)(1): Help inmates apply 
for federal/state benefits, and provide information on education and 
employment, among other areas; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: BOP has a 2008 MOU with the Social Security 
Administration and a December 2007 internal PS for the Inmate Release 
Preparation Program in place, which outlines actions to help inmates 
apply for benefits. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §231(d)(3): Report to Congress 
on recidivism rates for inmates in re-entry programs compared to 
general population; 
Mechanism in progress; 
Actions taken: BOP has determined that use of a 3-year post release 
period is optimal in collecting recidivism data and plans to provide a 
report to Congress by early fiscal year 2011 once data has been fully 
collected. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §231(d)(4): Use common 
terminology and language on re-entry-related written information BOP 
provides to inmates; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: A 1998 Presidential Order requires federal agencies to 
use plain language. BOP provides staff training to address the use of 
plain and common language. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §231(d)(5): Alert probation 
system of the medical/mental health needs of releasing inmates and 
provide necessary medications; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: BOP developed a PS for Pharmacy Services in January 
2005 and has a 1999 MOU in place with the probation system, which 
addresses inmate medical/mental health alerts. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §231(f): Give inmates in 
community confinement facilities access to medical/mental health care 
through local partnerships; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: BOP’s has an August 2007 statement of work in place 
with RRC contractors, which includes a requirement to give inmates 
access to medical/mental health care. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §231(g): Create a pilot program 
for early release to home detention of eligible elderly inmates; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: BOP has a February 2009 policy, which outlines an early 
release program for elderly inmates. 

Second Chance Act—BOP is required to: §251: Place eligible inmates in 
a community confinement for not more than 12 months (previously 6 
months or 10% of the inmate’s sentence, whichever is less) and issue 
associated regulations; 
Mechanism in place; 
Actions taken: BOP has an April 2008 policy and associated 
regulations, which outline the discretionary authority to place 
eligible inmates in RRCs for not more than 12 months. 

Source: GAO analysis of SCA requirements and BOP documents. 

[End of table] 

[End of section] 

Appendix II: BOP Plans to Complete SCA Requirements through 
Implementation of Its Process to Enhance Inmate Skills: 

BOP reports that it plans to take the following eight actions 
specified by SCA legislation to fully implement ISDI: 

1. Assess each inmate's skill level; identify, code the re-entry needs 
and deficits of inmates and produce an individual skills development 
plan for each inmate.[Footnote 7] 

* Work completed: BOP reports that it has completed some development 
of the ISDI tool. BOP has loaded biographical data for 78 percent of 
the inmate population into the ISDI database. According to BOP 
officials, while data for each inmate entered in the system may not be 
complete, staff are able to use the information along with other 
documentation as a basis for programming recommendations to prepare to 
re-entry. 

* Work remaining: BOP officials plan to complete skills assessment and 
produce an individual skills development plan for all inmates, develop 
reporting capabilities in ISDI, and finalize an interface between ISDI 
and an existing information system. BOP officials report that 
completing the skills assessment and producing an individual skills 
development plan for all inmates may be completed in 2012, and they 
are unsure when the reporting capabilities and planned interface will 
be completed. 

2. Generate a skills development plan for each inmate; determine re-
entry program assignments based on skill needs; track progress in 
responding to inmates' needs and deficits.[Footnote 8] 

* Work completed: According to BOP, it has tracked individual inmate 
needs and skill deficits manually, and is currently producing some 
automated reports that identify the percentage of inmates with partial 
information loaded into ISDI. Although some individual assessment 
information has been entered into ISDI, there is no report available 
to determine the number of assessments that are complete. 

* Work remaining: BOP officials state that they plan to develop ISDI 
reporting capabilities to monitor the extent to which inmates have 
been assessed against the nine competencies, as well as the agency's 
progress in responding to inmate needs and deficits (e.g., presently 
BOP is unable to aggregate the total number of completed inmate 
assessments/individual plans). 

3. Give priority to re-entry program participation to certain high-risk
inmate populations (e.g., sex offenders, career criminals).[Footnote 9] 

* Work completed: BOP has recognized the need to give high-risk
inmate populations priority placement in re-entry programs. 

* Work remaining: BOP officials state that this goal is on hold 
pending further implementation of ISDI. 

4. Coordinate and collaborate with other federal, state, tribal, and 
local criminal justice agencies, community- and faith-based 
organizations to help inmates re-enter communities.[Footnote 10] 

* Work completed: BOP assisted in creating the National Offender 
Workforce Development Partnership to bring together a number of 
federal partners, including the Department of Labor, to enhance inmate 
re-entry success through career-oriented opportunities. For example, 
BOP and the U.S. Probation Department have partnered on a program at 
select institutions to prepare inmates for employment searches upon 
release from custody, first being offered in December 2007. Further, 
BOP requires RRC contractors to develop community partnerships to 
assist with inmate re-entry. 

* Work remaining: BOP officials state that they intend to continue 
fostering community partnerships through the efforts of ISDI 
coordinators, who are in the process of being hired. According to the 
positions descriptions, the coordinators serve as a liaison between 
BOP facilities and headquarters to facilitate the implementation of 
ISDI, and provide support and resources for the development of 
community and other agency partnerships. 

5. Provide incentives for inmate participation in BOP skills 
development programs.[Footnote 11] 

* Work completed: According to BOP, it has various incentive systems 
in place for inmates to participate in skills development programs. 
For example, an inmate may earn financial awards, preferred living 
quarters, and access to exercise equipment and movies based on 
participation in BOP programs. 

* Work remaining: The SCA provided BOP the discretion to use 
additional time in a RRC as an incentive to participate in ISDI. 
[Footnote 12] BOP is also required to follow specific eligibility 
criteria when evaluating an inmate for RRC placement, such as the 
resources of the facility contemplated, and the nature of the criminal 
offense, among others.[Footnote 13] BOP officials stated that they are 
in the process of re-examining their RRC policies to focus on 
implementation of evidence-based research for inmate placement 
decisions with the goal of reducing recidivism. Specifically, BOP's 
Executive Committee was provided with a paper/overview on recidivism 
and RRC placement. According to BOP officials, a guidance memorandum 
for field operations was issued on June 24, 2010. 

6. Submit an annual report to the Judiciary Committees on BOP's 
progress in addressing re-entry needs and skill gaps of inmates. 
[Footnote 14] 

* Work completed: BOP met this annual reporting requirement by 
providing a report to the House and Senate Judiciary Committees in May 
2009. 

* Work remaining: BOP is subject to an annual requirement to provide a 
report on re-entry needs and deficits of inmates to the House and 
Senate Judiciary Committees. According to BOP officials, the next 
report was due to the committees in May 2010, but is expected to be 
delivered in June 2010. 

7. Ensure that BOP facilities' performance in enhancing inmates' 
skills and resources is evaluated using recognized measures and 
develop corrective action plans as necessary.[Footnote 15] 

* Work completed: BOP stated that it has formed a committee that is 
leading efforts to develop an inventory of BOP's re-entry programs 
nationwide and is developing preliminary outcome measures (measures 
that addresses the results of products and services delivered by a 
program) in collaboration with field staff at each institution. 

* Work remaining: According to BOP officials, BOP plans to complete 
the development of outcome measures in early 2011, with ongoing 
refinement. BOP plans to develop corrective actions after the 
committee identifies and evaluates these programs using its outcome 
measures. 

8. Modify policies and procedures related to the transition of inmates 
to the community.[Footnote 16] 

* Work completed: BOP stated that it is currently reviewing its 
policies and procedures for modifications based on ISDI. 

* Work remaining: According to BOP officials, no policies and 
procedures have been modified to date, and any modification will 
require union review. BOP officials state that they plan to complete 
the modification of policies and procedures based on the results of 
ISDI. 

[End of section] 

[End of Briefing Slides] 

Footnotes: 

[1] Pub. L. No. 110-199, 122 Stat. 657. 

[2] Recidivism is the act of committing new criminal offenses after 
having been arrested or convicted of a crime. 

[3] H.R. Rep. No. 111-366, at 673-74 (2009) (Conf. Rep). 

[4] GAO, Cost Estimating and Assessment Guide, [hyperlink, 
http://www.gao.gov/products/GAO-09-3SP] (Washington, D.C.: March 
2009); and Project Management Institute's The Standard for Program 
Management © (2006). 

[5] Because BOP has indicated that ISDI is both the strategy and the 
means to measure the removal of obstacles to re-entry (i.e., 
responsibilities under § 231(a)(1) and § 231(d)(2)), we have assessed 
its implementation of those SCA provisions together. 

[6] BOP did not provide a report on recidivism for inmates in reentry 
programs compared to the general population for fiscal year 2009, the 
first reporting year under SCA. BOP officials stated that they intend 
to provide a recidivism report by the early part of fiscal year 2011, 
once they have collected data full 3-year post release period. BOP 
officials stated that they use a 3-year post release period to gauge 
recidivism rates. Because BOP did not submit the report for fiscal 
year 2009, we determined that a mechanism is in progress. 

[7] § 231 (a)(1 )(A), (F), (d)(2)(A). 

[8] § 231(a)(1)(B)—(C), (d)(2)(B). 

[9] § 231(a)(1)(D). 

[10] § 231 (a)(1)(E). 

[11] § 231(a)(1)(G). 

[12] § 231(a)(2)(A). 

[13] 18 U.S.C. § 3621(b). 

[14] § 231 (d)(2)(C). 

[15] § 231 (d)(2)(D). 

[16] § 231(c). 

[End of section] 

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