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GAO

United States
General Accounting
Office
Washington,
D.C. 20548
General

Government

i

Division

(

B-254602
December 14,1993
The Honorable Sam Nunn
Chairman, Permanent Subcommittee
on Investigations
Committee on Governmental Affairs
United States Senate
The Honorable William J. Hughes
Chairman, Subcommittee on Intellectual
Property and Judicial Administration
Committee on the Judiciary
House of Representatives
In response to your separate requests, we (1) reviewed the Federal Bureau
of Prisons’ (BOP) response to our recommendations for reducing
overcrowding and increasing capacity at existing and new facilities and
(2) evaluated BOP’s progress in meeting its expansion plans. We also
reviewed available data on the impact of sentencing policies on BOP prison
population and expansion needs.

Results in Brief

has taken action on most of our recommendations for improving its
efforts to ewand capacity, including greater use of double-bunking in
existing and new facilities, better use of halfway houses, and identification
and evaluation of surplus military property for prison use. BOP has not
implemented our recommendation that it obtain statutory authority to
contract for private prisons to run demonstration projects or that it work
with the National Institute of Justice (NW)to determine the benefits and
limitations of privatization. BOP does not endorse the use of private prisons
for its genera3adult inmate population and has not contracted directly
with the private sector for the operation of adult secure facilities. BOP and
the Department of Justice (DOJ) have concluded that BOP already has the
authority to contract for private prisons, should it decide to do so.
However, we continue to believe that BOP needs specific statutory
authority to contract for private prisons. We believe BOP should be given
contracting authority so that it can test and evaluate privatization to
determine the efficiency and economy of such contracts at the federal
level.
BOP

During calendar year 1992,BOP increased its total rated capacity by 5,996
beds and reduced overcrowding from 51 percent to 46 percent over rated

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capacity.’ Using current population projections, approved and funded
construction and expansion plans should decrease overcrowding
systemwide to about 4 percent over rated capacity by 1997.However,
population projections for inmates classified as low- and
minimum-security risks exceed the planned rated capacity at these
security levels. Consequently, BOP may have to decide whether to crowd
more inmates into low- and minimum-security facilities, place inmates in
facilities that differ from their individual security classifications, or
redesignate the mission of some of its facilities. BOP has recently
redesignated the missions of five facilities to accommodate its need for
greater capacity at low- and minimum-security levels.
We found that some new facilities originally scheduled to become
operational in fiscal years 1995and 1996are now scheduled to become
operational in 1997.BOP officials said that the opening of some
low-security facilities has been delayed due to slippage in construction.
The construction of some detention facilities has also been delayed
because of problems loctig sites.
identified 83 base closure, realignment, unused, or underutilized
military properties as potential sites for correctional facilities between
1991and 1993,but BOP did not evaluate 36 of these sites because the
properties were not located in areas of projected inmate population
growth. BOP experience has shown that military property can provide BOP
expansion capacity faster than constructing new prisons and that the costs
of renovating such facilities are substantially less than the costs of new
construction. If the rapid growth in BOP’S inmate population continues and
new construction funding is limited or unavailable, the 36 sites not
evaluated might provide BOP with additional capacity for less cost than
building new facilities.
BOP

inmate population grew from about 42,090at the end of 1986to
almost 80,000in July 1993.BOP projects the federal prison population will
increase by another 50,000inmates between 1993and 2002 to a total of
130,413.The dramatic growth in BoP’sprison population is the direct result
of the tough law enforcement and sentencing policies of the 1980s which
focused on longer prison terms for a number of crimes-most notably
drug offenses. These tough law enforcement policies have translated into
larger prison populations for BOP to house, with inmates generally serving
longer terms than before federal mandatory minimum sentences and the
BOP’S

‘The term
institutions

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2

“rated capacity”
were designed,

refers to the maximum
not including
capacity

number of prison inmates
for which
set aside for medical and disciplinary

GAO/GGD-94-48

Overcrowding

BOP
segregation.

Reduced

/

8-254602

federal sentencing guidelines were implemented. BOP'Scapacity and
expansion plans through fiscal year 1997assume a continuation of these
policies, and thus, continued rapid growth in BOP'Sinmate population.
The escalatig cost of housing a rapidly growing prison population has led
to a growing public policy debate about the best means of curbing crime
while identifying less costly sentencing options that do not increase the
risk to public safety. Any changes in the types of sanctions available, as
well as the number of persons eligible for those sanctions, could have an
impact on BOP'Sinmate population and its need for additional prison
capacity.

Background

The two principal determinants of prison capacity needs are the number of
inmates being housed and the length of the sentences those inmates serve.
The 1980swas a period of unprecedented growth in the federal inmate
population. Between 1980and 1989,the federal inmate population
increased from 19,025to 53,347,or 180percent, and continues to increase
dramatically. BOPwas housing 78,661inmates in July 1993and projecting a
population of 106,174in 1997. One reason for this is that inmates are
serving longer terms. For example, in 1986the average time served for
drug offenses was 23 months, while it is now almost 72 months under the
sentencing guidelines that took effect in November 1987.As of
January 1993,62 percent of BOP'Sinmate population were drug offenders,
and BOPprojects that drug offenders will constitute almost 72 percent of
federal inmates by 1997.
The inmate population growth has resulted in concerns over crowding in
by comparing its inmate population
to its rated capacity. Using this measure, BOP calculated its total July 1993
rated capacity as 54,791inmates and its factities as 44 percent over
capacity with a population of 78,661.

BOP facilities. BOP measures crowding

To accommodate its increasing prison population, BOPhas embarked on
the most extensive and costly expansion program in its history. As of fiscal
year 1992,BOPhad received funding to increase its rated capacity by 34,015
beds. This rated capacity is expected to be completed by 1996through
construction of new prisons, acquisition of surplus government facilities
for conversion to prison use, and expansion of existing institutions.
Between fiscal year 1989and 1992,BOPreceived approximately $2.4 billion
for its facility expansion program. Building and operational costs could

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B-254602

continue to grow if additional expansion is approved to accommodate the
130,413prison inmates that BOP projects for 2002.
Despite these expansion efforts, BOP’s inmate population continues to
grow at a rate faster than BOP’S ability to increase prison capacity. 60~‘s
expansion program is closing the gap between population and capacity as
shown in figure 1. However, population projections beyond 1997indicate
that, if no changes are made to sentencing laws and if prison construction
is not funded in the budgets for fiscal years 1994and beyond, the gap
between population and capacity could increase to levels that could renew
BOP’S concerns about overcrowded prisons.

Figure

1: Comparison

of Actual

and Projected

BOP Population

and Capacity

In thousands

130000

120000
1 l0000
100000
90000
80000

70000
60000
50000
40000
30000
20000
10000
0
198Q

‘81

'82

'63

'84

'85

'88

'a7

'88

'89

'90

‘91

‘92

‘93

‘94

‘95

‘96

‘97

‘98

‘99

2000

'01

Year
-

Year-end

population

--

Year-end

capacity
Note: Data are as of the end of the year except for 1980, which are as of January
1, 1981. Also,
the actual population
is shown from 1980 through
1992 and the projected
population
is for 1993
through
2002. The actual capacity
is shown for 1980 through
1992 and the projected
capacity
is
from 1993 through
1997.
Source:

Page

BOP.

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Overcrowding

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'02

B-254602

While total population and the length of sentences inmates are serving
principally determine overall capacity needs, BOP must also try to match
the mix of facilities that it operates with the security classifications of its
inmates and their gender. BOP currently houses inmates at four security
levels. Minimum-security facilities are camps that do not require a
perimeter fence. Low-, medium-, and high-security facilities are prisons
located within a secured perimeter. BOP has facilities that are specifically
designated for female inmates at varying security levels. BOP also has
administrative facilities, including medical facilities and detention centers
(e.g.,jails).2 In additi on, BOP contracts with public and private agencies to
house eligible inmates in halfway houses, also sometimes referred to as
community correction centers. Some inmates who receive short sentences
serve their sentences in halfway houses. BOP also places eligible inmates in
halfway houses toward the end of their terms as a transition from prison
back into the community.
Inmates are assigned a security classification when they enter the prison
system. The classification can be revised-upward or downward-during
the inmate’s incarceration on the basis of a number of factors, including
time remaining to serve and the inmate’s behavior while incarcerated.
Inmates are generally placed in facilities with security levels similar to
their individual security classification. However, due to overcrowding,
some inmates are placed in facilities of a higher security level than their
individual security classification.

Objectives, Scope,
and Methodology

Our objectives were to review BOP’S response to GAO recommendations for
reducing overcrowding and increasing capacity at existing and new
facilities, to evaluate BOP’S progress in meeting its expansion plans, and to
identify new issues that may impact prison expansion. We did our work at
BOP headquarters and at the Commission on Alternative Utilization of
Military Facilities in Washington, D.C. At BOP headquarters, we obtained
information from the Administration Division; Community Corrections
and Detention Division; and Information, Policy, and Public Affairs.
We interviewed officials and obtained documentation about actions taken
by BOP on rated capacity design standards, construction design standards,
the use of community correction centers, contracting for private prisons,
and the use of military property for prisons. We reviewed fiscal years 1990
through 1994budget information. We also reviewed planning documents
2Generally
speaking,
prisons
house offenders
house offenders
awaiting
trial or sentencing

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5

who have been sentenced,
and some offenders
whose

GAO/GGD-94-48

whereas jails
total sentence

are used to
is 1 year or less.

Overcrowding

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B-264602

that SOP used to support budget submissions for its expansion program,
and we obtained data on inmate prison population projections, including
BOP'Sprojection model. We identified and reviewed pertinent BOPpolicies
and procedures. We did not independently verify information at any field
locations. We also interviewed EKPofficials and conducted a search of
current data to identify factors that have had an impact on prison
crowding and expansion plans.
We did our work between August 1992and June 1993in accordance with
generally accepted government auditing standards.

BOP Response to GAO
Recommendations
Has Been Generally
Positive

Since 1990,GAOhas issued five reports that included recommendations for
increasing BOP'Scurrent and planned rated capacity and identified ways
that BOPcould enhance its use of alternative methods for increasing
capacity through the conversion of military property, increased use of
halfway houses, and the initiation of a pilot of prison privatization. Most of
GAO'Srecommendations have been adopted, in whole or in part, except for
those for piloting private prisons and a recommendation made to the
Commission on Alternative Utihzation of Military Facilities to improve a
property survey form used to identify and describe property (see table 1).
Appendix I provides a status summary of each report issued and specific
actions taken on each recommendation

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Table 1: Summary ot Actions on Recommendations
GAO Report
Federal Prisons: Revised Design
Standards Could Save Expansion
Funds (GAO/GGD-91-54, Mar. 14,
1991)

From GAO Reports on Prison Expansion
Action taken.
YCIS
No

Recommendation

Partial

Congress should consider making FY 1992 funding
contingent upon double-bunking.
X
The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
revise design standards to provide for double-bunking.
X
The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
use revised standards in budget requests for new
construction.
X

Prison Costs: Opportunities Exist to
Lower the Cost of Building Federal
;;koys (GAO/GGD-92-3, Oct. 25,

The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
determine if space provided to inmates could be reduced.
X
The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
promote use of multipurpose space.
The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
consider geographic differences in labor and material
costs for construction in site selection.

a

The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
consider staff labor and pay differentials in site selection,
Prison Expansion: Program to
Identify DOD Property for Prison Use
Could Be Improved
(GAO/GGD-90-l IO, Sept. 28, 1990)

a

Congress should consider amending legidation to expand
use of closed military bases.
X
Secretary of Defense should notify the Commission on
Alternative Utilization of Military Facilities of base closures
as soon as decisions are final.
X
Secretary of Defense should direct the (1) services to
report excess property and (2) Army to report Army Corps
of Engineer property to the Commission.
X
The Commission should ensure that all property forms are
received and reviewed.
X
The Commission should improve the property survey form.
X
(continued)

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GAG Report
Prison Alternatives: Crowded
Federal Prisons Can Transfer More
Inmates to Halfway Houses
(GACYGGD-92-5, Nov. 14, 1991)

Action taken
Yes
No

Recommendation
The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
clarify definitions of vague criteria used in placement
decisions.

X

The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
enhance procedures that will ensure suitable inmates are
placed in halfway houses.

X

The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
ensure that wardens adhere to the BOP 9-month policy for
haffway house placement.

I
i
I

X

The Attorney General should require the Director of BOP to
issue a policy on when inmates may refuse placement.
Private Prisons: Cost Savings and
BOP’s Statutory Authority Need to Be
Resolved (GAO/GGD-91-21; Feb. 7,
1991)

I

X
1
!

Congress should grant authority for BOP to test use of
private prisons,

X
I

The Attorney General should direct NtJ to assist BOP
determine benefits and limitations of test.
Note: See appendix
I of this report for a more
actions
taken on each recommendation.

detailed

X
summary

of these

“According
to BOP officials,
they will consider
the factors
suggested
even though the factors
are not specifically
written in BOP policies

BOP Policy Changes
Increase Rated
Capacity

Partial

reports

and specific

I

in our recommendations
and procedures

Since August 1991,BOP has made several policy changesthat have resulted
in increases to rated capacity-the maximum design capacity of its
institutions, As of March 1993,BOP’S policy changes had resulted in an
increase in rated capacity at existing facilities of 8,927,or about 17percent
of its total existing capacity of 52,013.The policy changes also resulted in
an increase of 16,857in rated capacity for facilities planned through 1996
or about 37 percent of the additional capacity of 45,313planned, These
policy changes included double-bunking a specified percenwe of rooms
and cells at each of the security levels and a change in space allocated to
inmates in cubicle dormitories and multiple-occupancy areas3 In addition,
for new facilities being built, BOP reduced the space allocated for inmate
“Multiple-occupancy housing means a room, cell, or aSea of 120 square feet or more that is not
partitioned. The most common form of this kind of housing is an “open dormitory.” Depending on the
security level, cubicle dormitories and multiple-occupancy areas are divided into SO-,70-, or
60”square-foot
inmate living areas.

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housing from 90 square feet to approximately 75 square feet per cell.4 The
combined effect of the design and rated capacity changes is to achieve
cost savings by eliminating
the need to construct cells that would have
been built if BOP had not changed its standards.
Two GAO reports6 had recommendations for increasing current and
planned rated capacity. One focused on the design standards for single
occupancy of cells and the other on the size of cells. For many years, BOP
policy on rated capacity followed the standards of the American
Correctional Assocition (ACA) for single occupancy. Briefly stated, the ACA
standards required 60 square feet of space per inmate, regardless of the
type of space occupied, and the standards required single occupancy in
rooms or cells of less than 120 square feet.
We recommended that the Attorney General have BOPreassessdesign
standards for occupancy, institute double-bunking where feasible, and use
the revised standards for justifying the need for new facilities. Our
recommendation was based on BOP'S operational success with
double-bunking. In August 1991and February 1993,BOP revised its
procedures for determining and reporting each facility’s rated capacity to
require double-bunking under certain conditions in a specified percentage
of rooms, cells, and cubicles. The revised standards were used in the fiscal
year 1993and 1994building and facilities budget requests.
In our report of October 1991,which reviewed the construction of new
facilities, we recommended to the Attorney General that BOP reassessthe
amount of space provided to federal inmates to determine whether it
could be reduced, Our recommendation was based on a finding that
federal institutions provided more space per inmate than did state
institutions. Furthermore, for medium-security facilities, the revised BOP
policy statement for estabkhing standards for double-bunking used the
criteria of double-bunking cells with 75 or more square feet, but less than
120square feet. Yet, BOP'Spolicy manual for facility development provides
for 90-square-foot cells. BOPofficials told us that they have adopted a
policy of designing cells at a nominal6 75 square feet and they are in the
process of revising their policy manual.
‘Had ROP made no other changes, the reduced cell size could have had the effect of reducing the
overall size of BOP facilities or keeping the same overall size, but increasing the number of cells to
house prisoners, and thus rated capacity. BOP decided to enlarge the size of its facilities and increase
the number of inmates they would accommodate.
“GAOIGGD-91-54, Mar. 14, 1991, and GAO/GGDBW,

Oct. 25, 1991.

“BOP uses “nominal” to allow for a variance of approximately
accommodate construction limitations.

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plus or minus 5 square feet to

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HIP’s Use of Excess
Military Property
Limited

In our report that we issued in September 19907on the program for
identifying military property for prison use, we found procedural
weaknesses in the process for identifying and reviewing military property
that led to omissions and possible inaccurate description of properties.
The report raised concerns about whether all military properties suitable
for conversion to prisons were being identified by BOP.
According to a BOP official, BOP has several sources of information on the
availability of military property for prison use. These include the
Commission on Alternative Utilization of Military Facilities, the
Department of Defense (DOD) Office of Economic Aaustment, and
individual military service representatives. BOP reviewed 83 base closure,
realignment, unused, and underutilized military properties as potential
sites for correctional facilities from the beginning of f&al year 1991until
April 1993.As of April 1993,BOP’S review of military property had resulted
in the acquisition of two properties8 Of the remaining properties that were
reviewed, 1 has not yet been evaluated, 15 are being evaluated and
pursued for correctional facilities, 11 were evaluated and rejected, 14 were
evaluated but BOP withdrew because of community or political opposition,
4 were not evaluated because of environmental and technical reasons, and
36 were not evaluated because the properties were not in a location where
BOP had a need for a facility based on its current and projected inmate
population. (See appendix I for a list of the names and locations of these
military properties.)
Military properties can provide BOP expansion capacity faster than site
development and construction of new prisons, and the costs are
substantially less for renovation. For example, the Fort Dix site was on
DOD’s base closure and realignment list in 1991, and BOP began receiving
inmates at the facility in the second quarter of 1993-just 2 years after the
facility was made available, compared to the &year time period generally
needed for new construction.g
As of September 1993,Fort Dix had a rated capacity of 1,300and a
population of 1,391inmates. By the end of fiscal year 1993,the rated
capacity was expected to be 1,600beds. BOP plans to develop capacity for
TGAO/GGD-90-110, Sept. 28, 1990.
*Only one of the properties, Fort Dix, will be used as a correctional facility. The other property, the
Brooklyn Naval Station, will be used as administrative space.
sFort Dix was included in the 1988 base closure and realignment but as a restructuring of the base not
a closure. In 1991, Fort Dix was reaIigned again, and BOP began pursuing acquisition of the property
for use as a low-security facility.

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an additional 1,600inmates at Fort Dix within the next year for a total
rated capacity of 3,200 inmates. The entire 3,200 bed facility is estimated
to cost $10 million. The cost of renovation for the initial low-security,
1,600-bedcapacity at Fort Dix is about $4.6 million. By contrast,
construction of a low-security facility in Yazoo, MS, is estimated to cost
about $64 million for a 1,600-bedcapacity. The land is free to BOP for both
projects.
has a general policy of siting additional capacity relatively near the
states from which its inmates come to facilitate family visits and other
community ties. However, budget constraints may compel BOP to
reconsider the military sites that it had previously rejected because they
were not near a current area of need. Competing policy considerations
have recently resulted in BOP building prisons in Mississippi and Arkansas,
where BOP does not have a current or projected need, because Congress
wanted to encourage economic development in the Delta States.

BOP

The Commission’s
Property Review Process

Of our recommendations on the use of military property, the only one not
addressed was a suggested change in the property survey form used by the
Commission on Alternative Utilization of Military Facilities. The form is
the same one the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
uses to identify property for the homeless under the Stewart B. McKinney
Homeless Assistance Act. lo According to a Commission official, HUD is the
primary user of the form and did not want to change it. However, a new
base closure checklist was used to obtain better information on this type
of property. Since BOP does not rely solely on the Commission and has
identified over 80 potential military sites, the flaws in the HUD form to
identify properties for prison use may not be as critical.

BOP Has Increased Its
Use of Halfway
Houses

BOP

has generally implemented our recommendations for enhancing the
use of available halfway house resources, Our November 199Lreport?
found that the crowded federal prisons could transfer more inmates to
community
correction centers. BOP issued a new program statement that

IThe Stewart B. McKinney Homeless Assistance Act (P.L. 100-77, July 1987) and its subsequent
amendments (P.L 100-628, Nov. 1988) were enacted to respond to the lack of shelter and other
supportive services for the homeless. The McKinney Act, among other things, requires federal agencies
to identify buildings that could be made available to house the homeless.
“GAO/GGD-92-5, Nov. 14, 1991.

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addressed almost all of GAO’S recommendations,12but did not address the
recommendation to ensure that wardens start the placement process in a
timely manner so that inmates receive the full benefit of halfway house
placement. The program statement emphasized the need to begin release
planning from the tune the inmate enters the system and to continue the
planning process throughout the inmate’s confinement. BOP relies on
program and operational reviews to monitor the timeliness of halfway
house placements.
has taken some actions to improve the urneliness of inmate placement
in halfway houses, but problems may continue. At meetings and
conferences, BOP officials encouraged wardens to improve their placement
process. BOP also developed a centralized monitoring report to track
placements. As a result, BOP has increased its use of halfway house beds
from 77 percent in fiscal year 1991to 84 percent in &xai year 1992and has
increased the number of eligible inmates being placed from 45 percent for
the second quarter of 1992to 65 percent in January 1993.However,
internal BOP audits have found deficiencies in the timeliness of processing
inmates for placement.

BOP

Prison Privatization
Has Not Been hsued

has not implemented GAO recommendations to obtain statutory
authority to contract for private prisons to run demonstration projects or
to work with NLJto determine the benefits and limitations of privatization.
BOP and D&S Office of Legal Counsel have concluded that BOP has the
authority to contract for private prisons, if the agency should choose to
use that method for expanding capacity. Currently, EOP does not endorse
the use of private prisons for its general adult inmate population. At the
federal level, the use of privatization has been limited to specialized
groups of offenders, such as certain aliens and some unsentenced
offenders. BOP has not sought help from NLJ to develop a research method
to empirically evaluate advantages and disadvantages because BOP believes
that they can do it themselves.
BOP

Concerning our recommendation that BOP obtain statutory authority to
contract for private prisons, BOP and DOJ believe that such authority
aheady exists. As basic support for this conclusion, they refer to a
statutory provision that allows BOP to designate places of prisoner
confinement (18 U. SC. 362l(b)) and to general principles of federal
procurement law. We analyzed these possible sources of authority in detail

lzProgram
Statement:
Community
7310.01, Apr. 30, 1993).

Page

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Corrections

Center

Utilization

and Transfer

GAO/GGD-9448

Procedure

Overcrowding

(Number

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B-254602

in our February 1991report13and concluded that neither provides BOP with
the requisite authority to contract for private prisons. We continue to
believe that because BOP'S enabling legislation spells out the methods the
federal government may use to obtain prisoner housing-such as
contracts with state and local governments-private contracts and other
methods that are not expressly authorized are prohibited.
Therefore, we continue to believe that BOP needs specific statutory
authority to contract for private prisons. We believe that BOP should be
granted this authority so that it can use demonstration projects to test the
efficiency and economy of privatization for the adult general inmate
population.

Expansion Plans
Increase Capacity but
Overcrowding
Concerns Remain

is gradually closing the gap between its projected population and rated
capacity systemwide. It established a long-range goal to expand capacity
of the federal prison system to keep pace with projected increases in the
inmate population and to bring the inmate population in line with rated
capacity so that there is little or no overcrowding. BOP increased its total
rated capacity during calendar year 1992by 5,996beds and reduced
overcrowding from 51 percent at the end of 1991to 46 percent over rated
capacity at the end of 1992.By the end of fiscal year 1993,BOP projected a
population of 79,963and estimated that its rated capacity would be at
57,803.Thus, BOP should have been operating at 38 percent over rated
capacity by the end of fiscal year 1993-a reduction from the 46 percent
over rated capacity at the end of calendar year 1992.By 1997,BOP
estimates that its currently funded projects will result in its projected
population being about 4 percent over its rated capacity.

BOP

It is important to note that while BOP has obtained approval and funding
for the above increased capacity and is actively in the process of
expanding, the timetable for opening these facilities is subject to change.
During our review, we compared BOP'S estimated schedules for opening
new facilities as of January 1993and again in June 1993.In January, BOP
planned to have about 11,000low and detention beds available in fiscal
year 1995and 1996;however, in June, its schedule showed that these beds
would not become operational until fBcaI year 1997.According to BOP
officials, the opening of low-security facilities has slipped because of
construction delays, and detention facilities have been delayed because of
problems associated with locating sites.

LJGAO/GGD-91-21,Feb. 7, 1991.

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Am analysis of future capacity plans for each of BOP’S security levels
indicates that the current and projected capacity for medium-security-level
institutions is greater than the projected populations. The projected
capacity for high-security-level instkrtions is expected to exceed
populations in fiscal years 1994through 1997.However, population
projections for inmates classified at low- and minimum-security levels will
exceed rated capacity for those security levels for fiscal years 1993
through 1997. (See table 2.)
Table 2: Comparison of Prolected
Inmate Pop&ions
to Plank
Rated
Capacity for Minimum and
Low-Security Levels

From fiscal years 1993to

Classtfication
and fiscal year

1997

Population
projections as of
January 1993

Rated capacity
planned as of
June 1993

Percent of
population
projections to
rated capfdty

Minimumsecurity
1993
1994

20,307
21,754

15.137

134

23,107

15,893
17,557

137
132

1995

1996
1997
Lowsecurih,

24,414

20.373

120

25,665

20,885

123

1993
1994

24,646

10.860

227

12,460
13,452

211

1995

26,322
27,888

1996

30,867

19,046

207
156

1997

32.318

26.246

123

Source: BOP.

The rated capacity for minimum- and low-security institutions is based on
double-bunking 100percent of the rooms and cells. To accommodate the
projected inmate populations at the lower security levels, BOP may have to
triple-bunk minimum- and low-security-level inmates in minimum and low
facilities, place inmates in higher security level facilities, or change the
mission of some existing facilities. In February 1993,BOP announced pkns
to change the missions of five existing institutions from medium- to
low-security levels during fiscal years 1993and 1994because of the need
for increased capacity at that security level. These changes are not
included in our analysis in table 2 because they were not fully
implemented during our review.

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B-264602

The rated capacities for medium- and high-level facilities are based on
generally double-bunking
50 percent and ‘25 percent of rooms and cells,
respectively, that are greater than 75 square feet but less than 120 square
feet. BOP believes that it is not advisable to double-bunk
certain units
within facilities such as high-security,
medical, witness protection,
and
holdover units for security reasons. Furthermore,
it believes to further
double-bunk
would limit its ability to retain flexibility in placing an
increasing inmate population
in the appropriate prison or jail setting.
I
f

Policy Issues Affect
Prison Expansion
Planning

During the 198Os, Congress passed several statutes that dramatically
affected the federal prison population,
including the Comprehensive
Crime
Control Act of 1984 and the Anti-Drug Abuse Acts of 1986 and 1988.
Among other things, these acts expanded the types of crimes subject to
federal prosecution
and established mandatory minimum sentences for
certain crimes, particularly
drug offenses and violent crimes. The 1984
Crime Control Act created the U.S. Sentencing Commission,
which was
charged with developing the new federal sentencing guidelines that took
effect on November 1,1987. Those sentenced under the guidelines are not
eligible for parole and must serve their entire sentences less a maximum
good time reduction of 54 days per year. This provision, combined with
more restrictive eligibility standards for nonprison sentences, has had the
effect of lengthening
the sentences that federal inmates serve.

i
j
1

Figures 2 and 3 show the effects that the new sentencing guidelines have
had on the prison time that drug offenders serve.14 As shown, the number
of male and female inmates serving 25 months or more for drug offenses
has increased dramatically.

“‘The sentencing guidelines incorporate the provisions of the mandatory minimum sentencing laws.

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1

B-254602

Figure 2: BOP Male Prison Inmate Drug Offenders by Time Remaining to Serve Based on Sentencing Under Old Law and
New Law
Number

1 WOO

of male inmates

9000

Woo

4000

2000

0

1
1 Bar

Calendar

year

Old law

New

0

O-24 months

$“:i’

25-60
61-120

law

month
months

12 1 months

or more

Note: Data were not verified,
and some
general
trends and are not necessarily
Source:

Page

BOP Sentry

16

Database

and

data fields were
precise
counts.

Key Indicators

not complete.

Thus,

data

are indicative

of

System.

GAO/GGD-94-48

Overcrowding

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B-264602

Figure 3: BOP Female Prison Inmate Drug Offenders by Time Remaining to Serve Based on Sentencing Under Old Law and
New Law
1400

Number

of femaie

InmaWs

1200

800
800

1987
Calendar
Old

year
New

law

11

O-24 months

m

25-60
61-120

law

month
months

121 months

or more

Note: Data were not verified,
and some
general
trends
and are not necessarily
Source:

BOP Sentry

Database

and

data fields were
precise
counts.

Key Indicators

not complete.

Thus,

data

are indicative

of

System.

as a consequence
of these tough sentencing guidelines, laws, and
the emphasis on drug enforcement, prison populations grew much faster
than BOP could add capacity; the result has been prison overcrowding. To
reduce the overcrowding in federal prisons, Congress appropriated over
$3.1 billion to build more prison capacity between fiscal years 1989and
1993.In 1989,BOP had 7’0facilities. In July 1993,BCJP had 103facilities; and

Largely

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B-264602

by the end of 1997,it plans to have 154 facilities operationaI.‘5 If no
changes are made in sentencing policies, BOP projects its population to
continue to increase beyond 1997.If no new construction is funded, the
gap between prison population and capacity could grow again, causing
serious overcrowding.
In addition to the construction costs, BOP’S salaries and expenses budget to
operate the larger prison system has grown dramatically. ~0~‘s salaries and
expenses budget has more than quadrupled in the last 10 years from
$363.2million in fiscal year 1982to approximately $1.8billion in fiscal year
1993,or $1.1 billion in constant (iuflation musted) 1982dollars. Operating
the 51 facilities expected to open between 1994and 1997will further
increase these costs. BOP estimates that its annual operating budget wilI
almost double between 1993and 1997to $3.6 billion, or $1.8 billion in
constant 1982dollars. Given the focus on reducing continuing high federal
deficits, BOP officials expressed concern that funds may not be available to
operate the new facilities when they are ready to open.
The tough drug sentencing laws have also changed the demographics of
the federal prison population. Currently, over 60 percent of 60~‘s inmate
population is serving time for drug crimes compared to 25 percent of the
population in 1980.BOP expects the proportion to grow to 72 percent of the
population by 1997.The number of female inmates has also increased
significantly from 1,415in 1981to 5,006in 1991,principally as a result of
drug prosecutions. The percentage of female inmates serving time for drug
crimes has increased from 26 percent in 1981to 64 percent in 1991.

j
1
!
jfi

I
j
1

1

Figures 4 and 5 show the number of male and female inmates who were
sentenced for drug crimes committed before November 1,1987, and after
November 1,1987. The figures clearly show the federal emphasis on drug
enforcement and tougher sentences for drug offenses.

16GAO’s count of facilities
differs from BOP. According
to a BOP official,
BOP had 59 facilities
in 1989,
72 facilities
in July 1993, and they will have 103 facilities
in 1997. The count differs because BOP
considea
minimum-security
facilities
colocated
with facilities
of a higher security
level and managed
by one warden as one facility.
We counted
them as separate
facilities
to take into consideration
that
they wet-e of different
security
levels and housed a different
classification
of inmates.

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Figure 4: BOP Male Prison Inmates Sentenced Under Old Law and New Law
30900

Number

of male inmates

25000

20000

15000

10000

5000

0
1987
Calendar

Old

law

n
r
[::’

--f

year

New

law

Drugs
Firearms/violent
Robbery

Other

Note: Data were not verified,
and some
general
trends and are not necessarily
Source:

Page

BOP Sentry

19

Database

and

data fields were
precise
counts.

Key Indicators

not complete.

Thus,

data

are indicative

of

System.

GAO/GGD-94-48

Overcrowding

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B-254602

Figure 5: BOP Female Prison Imates
3500

Number

01 female

Sentenced Under Old Law and New Law

Inmates

3000

2500

lS87
Calendar

Old

year

law

New

IJ

Drugs

r]

Firearmslwolent

law

Robbery
Other

Note: Oata were not verified,
and some
general
trends and are not necessarily

data fields were
precise
counts.

Source:

Indicators

BOP

Sentry

Database

and Key

not complete.

Thus,

data

are indicative

of

System

Prior to 1987,when the sentencing guidelines took effect, inmates served
an average of about 23 months for drug offenses. In 1990,under the
guidelines, inmates were serving an average of about 72 months for drug
offenses About one-third (10,468) of the 36,491persons sentenced in 1992
under the federal sentencing guidelines received mandatory minimum
sentences ranging from 1 year to Life imprisonment (see table 3). Of those
receiving mandatory minimum sentences, 88 percent were drug offenders.

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Table 3: Mandatory Minimum
Sentences Imposed in Fiscal Year 1992

Sentence imposed
(in years)

All mandatory
minimums

Drug mandatory
minimums
201

1

221

5

4,969

4,262

[

10

4,194

4,139

:

15
20

633
331

273
306

:
z

30

22
78

17

r

57

I

Life
Source: BOP.

Data from the U.S. Sentencing Commission indicate that 60 percent of the
drug offenders sentenced under the guidelines fall into the lowest (least
severe) of the six criminal history categories used by the Sentencing
Commission to determine sentence length. Such persons are either
first-time offenders or have minor prior criminal histories (such as
convictions for misdemeanors); they may not have had a prior jail term
that exceeded 60 days. Over half of the drug offenders entering the federal
prison system are first-time offenders. Many first-time and most female
offenders are categorized as nonviolent. Such inmates are generally placed
in minimum- or low-security facilities.
Reflecting a growing concern about the rising costs of building and
operating prisons for an increasing prison population, some Members of
Congress and the Attorney General have begun to express an interest in
reviewing sentencing policies, including use of intermediate sanctions for
first-time and nonviolent offenders.16Inter-media& sanctions include such
options as halfway houses, intensive supervised probation, electronic
monitoring and house arrest, boot camps, and various combinations of
these sanctions,
Among the policies that affect the growth of federal prison populations are
are federalized;
. prosecutorial policies;
. sentencing guidelines and other policies that determine who is
incarcerated in prisons;
availability and use of acceptable forms of nonprison sanctions;
. the crimes that

l

“Intermediate sanctions refer tn programs that impose sanctions on offenders that are typically more
severe than standard probation or parole and less severe than traditional incarceration.

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i

B-254602

the level of crowding that is acceptable; and
. whether costs are considered as a determinant for establishing sentencing
policies (for example, the use of alternative sanctions, such as boot camps,
which may be less co&y, at least in the short term).17

l

Greater use of alternative sanctions may reduce BOP’S budgetary
requirements but increase those of the federal Judiciary’s Probation and
Pre-Trial Services Division, which would probably be responsible for many
of the inmates sentenced to akernative sanctions, such as intensified
supervised probation.

Conclusions

Under current law enforcement, prosecutor@ and sentencing policies,
prison population has increased dramatica.Ily and is expected to
continue to grow rapidly. To reduce crowding and accommodate
popuIation growth, BOP received over$Sl ,biIlion from fiscal years I989
through 1993to increase its bed capacity. BOP has grown from 70 facilities
in 1989to 103 facilities in July 1993,.andits expansion plans will provide
51 more facilities by 1997.OveralI rated capacity is expected to reach
106,174by 1997,which wilI reduce overcrowding to 4 percent, using
current population projections. However, if no changes are made to
sentencing laws and if prison construction is not funded in the budgets for
fiscal years 1994and beyond to accommodate the expected growth, the
level of overcrowding could become a serious concern again beginning in
1998.

BOP’S

Policymakers are considering revisions to sentencing guidelines and laws
to permit the use of alternative sanctions. Changes to these law
enforcement policies can affect the total prison capacity needed, types of
facilities needed, and resource requirements of other law enforcement
entities, such as the Judiciary’s Probation Service.

Agency Comments

On October 8, 1993,we met with senior BOP officials who are responsible
for the areas covered in this report. These included representatives of the
Community Corrections and Detention Division, the Program Review
Division, and the Office of General Counsel. In oral comments, BOP
officiak said that they found the report to be a fair and accurate
presentation of the status of BOP’S actions on our past recommendations
on their expansion program, and the report accurately reflected the
‘%-ee prison Boot Camps: Short-Term
Prison Costs Reduced,
but Long-Term
Impact Uncertain
(GAO/GGD-93-69,
Apr. 29, 1993). If hoot camps are not successful
in reducing
recidivism
rates,
compared
to those who are imprisoned,
they may not be less costly in the long run.

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I

B-254602

i

current status of their expansion efforts. The only other comment that BOP
officials had was that they continue to disagree with our legal analysis of
their statutory authority to contract for private prisons.
We requested comments from DOD for segments of the report on the use of
military property for prisons. DOD officials reviewed the draft report and
concurred with it without further comment.
As agreed with the Subcommittees, unless you publicly announce its
contents earlier, we plan no further distribution of this report unljl30 days
from the date of this letter. At that time, copies of this report will be sent
to the Attorney General, the Director of BOP, the Chairman of the
Commission on Alternative Utilization of Military Property, and other
interested parties. Copies will also be made available to others upon
requek
The major contributors to this report are listed in appendix II. Should you
need additional information on the contents of this report, please contact
me on (202) 51243777.

Laurie E. Ekstrand
Associate Director, Administration
of Justice Issues

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/
!

Contents

Letter
Appendix I
Status Summary and
Specific
Recommendations of
Five GAO Reports on
Prison Expansion

-

26

Federal Prisons: Revised Design Standards Could Save
Expansion Funds (GAO/GGD-91-54,Mar. 14,199l)
Prison Costs: Opportunities Exist to Lower the Cost of Building
Federal Prisons (GAO/GGD-92-3, Oct. 251991)
Prison Expansion: Program to Identify DOD Property for Prison
Use Could Be Improved (GAO/GGD-90-110,Sept. 28,199O)
Prison Alternatives:
Crowded Federal Prisons Can Transfer More
Inmates to Halfway Houses (GAO/GGD-92-5,Nov. 14,199l)
Private Prisons: Cost Savings and BOP’s Statutory Authority
Need to Be Resolved (GAO/GGD81-21, Feb. 7,199l)

28
30
35
38

I
:
/

40

Table 1: Summary of Actions on Recommendations From GAO
Reports on Prison Expansion
Table 2: Comparison of Projected Inmate Populations to Planned
Rated Capacity for Minimum- and Low-Security Levels
Table 3: Mandatory Minimum Sentences Imposed in Fiscal Year
1992
Table I. 1.: Rated Capacity for BOP Facilities Through 1996and
the Amount of Rated Capacity Attributed to BOP’s Policy

7

14
21
27

Changes

Figures

1

26

Appendix II
Major Contributors to
This Report
Tables

1

Figure 1: Comparison of Actual and Projected BOP Population
and Capacity
Figure 2: BOP Male Prison Inmate Drug Offenders by Time
Remaining to Serve Based on Sentencing Under Old Law and
New Law
Figure 3: BOP Female Prison Inmate Drug Offenders by Time
Remaining to Serve Based on Sentencing Under Old Law and
New Law
Figure 4: BOP Male Prison Inmates Sentenced Under Old Law
and New Law

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4

16
17

19

Reduced

j

Contents

Figure 5: BOP Female Prison Inmates Sentenced Under OId Law
and New Law

20

Abbreviations

American Correctional Association
Bureau of Prisons
Department of Defense
Department of Justice
General Services Adminkkrakion
Department of Housing and Urban Development
National Institute of Justice

ACA
BOP
DOD
DOJ
GSA
HUD
NlJ

Page

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Appendix I

Status Summary and Specific
Recommendations of Five GAO Reports on
Prison Expansion
Federal Prisons:
Revised Design
Standards Could Save
Expansion Funds
(GAO/GGD-91-54,
Mar. 14,199l)
Summary of Changesin
Policy for Rated Capacity

Twice in the past 2 years BOP has revised program statements that
establish procedures for determinin g and reporting each institution’s rated
capacity.’ The first program statement provided that (1) 50 percent of
existing rooms or cells in medium-security institutions with 75 or more
square feet but less thau 120 square feet be rated for double occupancy
(double-bunking) and (2) 50 percent of existing rooms or cells in low-and
minimum-security institutions with 65 or more square feet but less than
120 square feet be rated for double occupancy.
The second program statement revised the first statement to require
(1) high-security institutions to double-bunk 25 percent of the rooms, cells,
and cubicles with 75 or more square feet but less than 120 square feet;’
(2) medium-security institutions to double-bunk 50 percent of their rooms,
cells, and cubicles with 70 net square feet, a change from the 75 net square
feet, to be consistent with new design standards of a nominal3 75 square
feet; and (3) low- and minimum-security institutions to double-bunk
100percent of their rooms, cells, and cubicles that are 65 or more square
feet.
As shown in table I. 1, as of March 1993,BOP increased its existing rated
capacity by 8,927,or about 17 percent, and its rated capacity for facilities

‘Program Statement: Rated Capacities for Bureau Facilities (Number 1060.08, Aug. I, 1991) and
Program Statement: Rated Capacities for Bureau Facilities (Number 1060.09, Feb. 23,1993).
2We recommended in our report, Federal Jail Be&pace: Cost Savings and Greater Accuracy Possible
in the Capacity Expansion Plan (GAO/GGD-92-141,
Sept. 24, 19!Z), that BOP revise its design
standards for jails (high-security level) to ensure that its expansion plans and budget requests are
premised on double-bunking where feasible and to limit single-bunking to those locations where
double-bunking is clearly not feasible.
3”Nominal” means plus or minus 5 square feet.

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Appe.ruUx
I
Status Summary and Specific
Recotnmendations
of Five GAO

RisonExpansion

Reports on

Y

planned through 1996by 16,857,or about 37 percent, as a result of its
policy revisions4

1
I

Table 1.1.: Wed Capacity for BOP
Factlities Through I%95 ;nd the
Amount of Rated Capacity Attributed
to BOP’s Policy Change8

Sources of increased rated
capacity
Existing facilities as of
March 1993
New construction
Acquired facilities
Expansion projects
planned at existing facilities
Total

Rated capacity as ol
March 1993
52,013

Amount of rated capacity
attributable to revised
policy
8,927

38,283
4,576
2,454

13,952
2,045
860

I

97,326

25,784

F

Source: BOP.

Specific GAO
Recommendations and
Actions Taken

1. Congress should consider making funding Of BOP'Sfiscal year 1992
budget request for new facility construction contingent on BOPcompleting
and justifying its transition to standards that include double-bunking,
wherever feasible.
Action: None taken.
2. The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP, to reassess
current and proposed BOP design standards to ensure that its expansion
plans and budget requests are premised on the use of standards that
provide for double-bunking where feasible and limit single-bunking to
those locations where double-bunking is clearly not feasible.
Action: BOP revised its policy that establishes procedures for determining
and reporting each institution’s rated capacity on August 1,1991, and
February 23,1993. The program statements specified conditions for using
double-bunking as a standard.
3. The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP,to use the
revised standards to determine the rated capacity of the federal prison
system and justify the need for new facilities.

41naddition to the policy change for double-bunking, BOP revised the standard cell size for new
construction from 90 square feet to a nominal 75 square feet. The calculated increase in rated capacity
due to policy changes includes all policy changes, however, according to BOP officials, most of the
increase is attributable to double-bunking.

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Appendix
I
Status
Summary
RecommendatIous
Prison
Expansion

and Specific
oi Five GAO

Reports

on

Action: The revised standards were used to determine the rated capacity in
the development of BOP’S building and facilities budget requests for fiscal
years 1993and 1994.

Prison Costs:
Opportunities Exist to
Lower the Cost of
Building Federal
Prisons
(GAO/GGD-92-3,
Oct. 25, 1991)
Summary of BOP Facilities
Development

As of January 1993,BOP had 46 construction projects that were funded at
approximately $2.5billion, Of these, 17 projects were under ‘construction,
27 were in various stages of site investigation and development or design,
and 2 facilities were in the process of opening.’ Of the 17 construction
projects in process, 3 were shown as ahead of schedule, 8 were within
schedule, and 6 were behind schedule. A BOP official said that inform&on
on estimated milestones is updated periodically to reflect BOP’S best
estimate of when the partkular activity will actually be completed.
documentation of the facilities development process is described in its
Facilities Development Manual dated June 25,199l. The Facilities
Development Manual describes the site acquisition and planning phase of
facilities development, provides design criteria for each institutional
security level, and concludes with time line schedules and procedures for
site activation. The manual is intended to promote and encourage
consistency from one construction project to the next through the use of a
standard set of design criteria.

I
:
/

BOP

P
/
I
4

The Facilities Development Manual generally provides for 90 square feet
per cell. However, according to BOP officials this provision has been
changed to a nominal 75 square feet, and it is the standard for construction
projects that were not too far along in the process to make the adjustment.
Of the 17projects under construction, BOP indicated that 5 would provide
‘A detention center is under design in Oklahoma City, but BOP is leasing the facility and is not
managing the construction project.

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[

Appendix I
Status Summary and Specific
Recommendations
of Five GAO Reports on
prisou Expansion

90 square feet, 6 would provide 75, and 5 would provide 80 square feet.
One facility is being configured as a dormitory and does not have rooms,
cells, or cubicles. BOP is in the process of revising the manual to include
the new inmate cell criteria as well as other space requirement revisions.
Reducing the space allocated to inmates in housing areas could have
resulted in cost savings either by (1) building smaller prisons to
accommodate the same number of prisoners or (2) building the same size
prison to accommodate an increased number of inmates. To realize even
greater efficiencies, BOP decided to enlarge the overall size of its new
facilities that are in the design stage to accommodate more inmates. For
example, a new low-security facility went from a rated capacity of 1,000to
a 1,600capacity, including a rise in net total square footage from 209,057to
262,800square feet. The increased rated capacity of 600inmates reflects
an increase of 300 rooms to accommodate 600 more inmates who would
be 100percent double-bunked. The overall average square footage per
inmate has gone from about 209 square feet to about 164 square feet The
combined effect of the design and rated capacity changes is to achieve
cost savings by eliminating the need to construct cells that would have
been buiIt if BOP had not changed its standards.

Specific Recommendations
and Actions Taken

1. The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP, to reassess
current prison standards to determine if the amount of space provided to
federal inmates could be reduced.
Action: As of August 1993,the revised Facilities Development Manual was
being printed and BOP expected to issue it soon. According to BOP officials,
BOP revised the amount of space provided to inmates to a nominal 75
square feet for rooms and cells for construction projects in the design
stage.
2. The Attorney General should require the Director,
use of multipurpose space, where feasible.
Action:

BOP

BOP,

to promote the

officials said that they promote the use of multipurpose space.

The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP, to amend
prison-site selection criteria to include the consideration of geographic
differences in labor and material costs.

3.

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Appendix
I
statue
sununary

Recommendations
Prison
Expansion

e
and

spdflc

of Five GAO Reports

on

Action: BOP officials said that while this is not an explicitly written criteria,
it is considered during the site selection process.

;

4. The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP, to consider
prevailing labor costs and locality pay differentials when selecting sites for
new prison construction.
Action: BOP officials said that prevailing labor costs and locality pay
differentials are considered when selecting sites for new prison
construction.

Prison Expansion:
Program to Identify
DOD Property for
F’rison Use Could Be
Improved
(GAWGGD-90-110,
Sept. 28, 1990)
summary of Military
Property Used for Prisons

uses both active and closed military installations as correctional
facility sites. DOD has a policy that only minimum-security level inmates
can be housed on active bases. As of August 1991,nine BOP
minimum-security prison camps were located on active military
installations. In addition, BOP currently has 14 facilities on 13deactivated
bases or former military property and 8 facilities currently under design or
construction on 3 deactivated bases or military properties.
BOP

According to a BOP official, BOP has several avenues to access information
on the availability of military property for prison use. These include the
Commission on Alternative Utilization of Military Facilities, the DOD Office
of Economic Adjustment, and individual military services representatives.
BOP reviewed 83 base closure, realignment, unused, and underutilized
miIitaty properties as potential sites for correctional facilities between the
beginning of fiscal year 1991and April 1993.Using specific criteria and
taking into consideration local issues that might affect decisions, BOP
considered each property’s potential for siting a federal correctional
facility. As of April 1993,BOP’S review of military property resulted in the

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Appendix
I
Status
Summary
Recommendations
Prison
Expansion

urd

Specific
of Five GAO

Reportg

on

acquisition of 2 properties,6 15 properties were being evaluated and
pursued for correctional facilities, 11 were evaluated and rejected, and 14
properties were evaluated but BOPwithdrew because of community or
political. opposition Four of the properties were not evaluated because of
environmental and technical reasons, 36 were not evaluated because the
properties were not in a location that BOPhad a need for a facility, and 1
property was not yet evaluated. See the following list for the names and
locations of these sites.

Acquired

Fort Dix, New Jersey
Brooklyn Naval Station, New York

Evaluated and Pursuing

Coosa River Annex, Alabama
Williams Air Force Base, Arizona
Navajo Depot Activity, Arizona
Castle Air Force Base, California
Marine Corps Air Station Tustin, California
March Air Force Base, California
Sacramento Army Depot, California
George Air Force Base, California
Hamilton Army Airfield, California
McDill Air Force Base, Florida
Grissom Air Force Base, Indiana
Fort Devens, Massachusetts
Umatilla Army Depot, Oregon
Carswell Air Force Base, Texas
Naval Station Puget Sound, Washington

Evaluated and Rejected

Fort Chafee, Arkansas
Lowry Air Force Base, Colorado
Fort Gordon, Georgia
Rock Island Arsenal, Illinois
Lexington-3lue Grass Army Depot, Kentucky
Fort Polk, Louisiana
AMTL Watertown, Massachusetts
Fort DevensICohasset, U.S. Army Reserve Center, Massachusetts
Pontiac Storage Facility, Michigan
Tacony Warehouse (Philadelphia), Pennsylvania
Philadelphia Naval Hospital, Pennsylvania

GOnly one of the properties,
Fort Dix,
Station will be used as administrative

Page

31

NJ, will be used as a correctional
space.

GAO/GGD-94-48

facility.

The Brooklyn

Overcrowding

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Appendix
I
statas
sumnlary
Recommcndatione
Rin
Expansion

Evaluated and Withdrew Due to
Opposition

Not Evaluated Due to
Environmental or Technical

Reasons
Not Evaluated Due ti Location
Outside Area of BOP Need

and specific
of Five GAO

Reporte

on

Ford Ord, California
Mather Air Force Base, California
Naval Hospital Long Beach, California
Norton Air Force Base, California
Naval Air Station Long Beach, California
Kapalama, Hawaii
Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana
England Air Force Base, Louisiana
Fort Mead, Maryland
PeaseAir Force Base, New Hampshire
Philadelphia Naval Shipyard, Pennsylvania
Construction Battalion Center Davisville, Rhode Island
Myrtle Beach Air Force Base, South Carolina
Cameron Station, Virginia

z

Alabama Ammunitions Plant, Alabama
Indiana Army Ammunitions Plant, Indiana
Aberdeen Proving Ground, Maryland
Fort DevensSudbury Annex, Massachusetts
Eaker Air Force Base, Arkansas
DeCray Lake, Arkansas
Naval Station San Francisco, California
Salton Sea Test Base, California
Naval Air Station Moffett Field, California
Pueblo Army Depot, Colorado
Bennett Army National Guard Facility, Colorado
Cape St. George Naval Reserve Center, Florida
Mountain Home Air Force Base, Idaho
Chanute Air Force Base, Illinois
Fort Sheridan, Illinois
Jefferson Proving Ground, Indiana
Fort Des Moines, Iowa
Naval Station Lake Charles, Louisiana
New Orleans Milimry Ocean Terminal, Louisiana
Bayou Bodeau Dam and Reservoir, Louisiana
Loring Air Force Base, Maine
U.S. Army Reserve Center Gaithersburg, Maryland
Fort Holabird, Maryland
W&smith Air Force Base, Michigan
Grenada Lake, Mississippi
Richards-Gebaur Army Reserve Station, Missouri

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Summary
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Nike Kansas City, Missouri
Fort Wingate, New Mexico
Rickenbacker Air Force Base, Ohio
Naval Station Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nike Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
bake Barkley, Hickman Creek Site, Tennessee
Bergstrom Air Force Base, Texas
Goodfellow Air Force Base, Texas
Outlying Landing Field, Texas
Naval Station Galveston, Texas
Naval Air Station Chase Field, Texas
Fort Douglas, Utah
Defense Mapping Agency, Virginia
Harry Diamond Laboratory, Virginia
Not Yet Evaluated

Beale Air Force Base, California
has one military property at Fort I?& NJ, that is in the construction
phase. BOP arranged with DOD to have permission to use Fort Dix as a
location for a low-security facility while ownership of the site remained
with the military.

BOP

Military properties can provide BOP expansion capacity faster than site
development and construction of new prisons and the costs are
substantially less for renovation. The Fort Dix site was part of DOD’S base
closure and realignment list in 1991,and BOP began receiving inmates at
the facility in the second quarter of 1993.7This is a Z-year time frame
compared to a usual 5-year time period for new construction. As of
September 1993,Fort Dix had a rated capacity of 1,300and a population of
1,391inmates. By the end of fiscal year 1993,the rated capacity was
expected to be 1,600.The cost of renovation at Fort Dix was about
$4.5 million for the 1,600beds and, eventually, 3,200inmates will be
housed at the base. The entire 3,200bed facility is estimated to cost
$10 million. Construction of a low-security facility in Yazoo, MS, is
estimated to cost about $64 million for a 1,600bed capacity.

Specific Recommendations
and Actions Taken

1. Congress should consider amending the Commission on Alternative
Utilization of Military Facilities’ enabling legislation to (a) eliminate
limitation to minimum-security prisons, thus encouraging the Commission
‘Fort Dii was included in the 1986 base &sure and realignment but as a restructuring of the base, not
as a closure. In 1991, Fort Dix was realigned again and BOP began to pursue the acquisition of
property for use as a low-security facility.

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Status Summary and Specific
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to consider property for higher security prisons and (b) make explicit the
consideration of state and local government prison needs when military
property is reviewed.
Action: Congress amended the legislation to expand the use of closed
militaty facilities to a broad definition of “Federal confinement or
correctional facilities including shock incarceration facilities” (i.e., boot
camps) and included states and local jurisdiction needs for confinement or
correctional facilities in property reviews.8
2. The Secretary of Defense should require that bases subject to closure be
reported to the Commission as soon as a final decision on closure status
has been made.
Action: The Secretary of Defense reported bases targeted for closure to
the Commission on January 1992for review and inclusion in the
September 1992Commission report.
3. The Secretary of Defense should instruct (a) the services to report to the
Commission the excess property that has been reported to the General
Services Administration (GSA) and (b) the Army to report to the
Commission on its excess civilian property.
Action: According to a DOD official, all excess property that had been
reported to GSA by the services and the Army’s excess civilian property is
included in the Commission report. An official directive was not issued.
4. The Commission should establish controls to ensure that it receives and
reviews all property survey forms completed by the services.
Action: The Commission changed its control system to use the Housing
and Urban Development (HUD) database that was already established to
manage HUD’s
property survey forms.
5. The Commission should take steps to improve the property survey form
to increase the likelihood of obtaining consistent and meaningful data
Action: According to a DOD official, the property survey form was not
changed because its primary user is HUD, which is also a member of the
Commission. However, the DOD official said that the base closure checklist
was revised to capture better information.
8National

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DefenseAuthorization

Act for Fiscal

Year

1991, Public

Law

101-510.

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_ _ ~ . I .

.

. . - .

Appendix X
statna summary and Specific
Recommendationa
of Five GAO Reporter on
Frison Expansion

Prison Alternatives:
Crowded F’ederal
Prisons Can Transfer
More Inmates to
Halfway Houses
(GAOIGGD-92-5,
Nov. 14, 1991)
Summary of BOP Transfer
of Inmates to Halfway
Houses

Community Corrections and Detention Division was created in
July 1991and is responsible for the development and implementation of
policies and procedures related to the administration of community
corrections and detention con&act facilities nationwide. BOP has 32
community corrections offices throughout the United States. Each office
has a community corrections manager who is responsible for the
development, administration, and routine oversight of residential and
nonresidential services provided through contractual agreements.
BOP’S

Programs and services are facilitated through contractual agreements with
federal, state, county, and city government agencies and through contracts
with private agencies. Services provided by these agencies include
traditional prerelease (community corrections centers), short- and
long-term detention and confinement, juvenile and adult boarding,
program for pregnant offenders, and nonresidential home confinement
programs such as electronic monitoring.
BOP issued a new program statement that addresses almost all of GAO'S
recommendations.g The program statement does not address the
recommendation to ensure that wardens start the placement process
within BOP'Sg-month policy so that inmates receive the full benefit of
halfway house placement. BOPhas taken some actions to improve the
timeliness of inmate placement in halfway houses, but problems may still
exist. At meetings and conferences, BOP officials encouraged wardens to
improve their placement process. BOP also developed a centralized
monitoring report to track placements. BOPofficials believe that both of
these efforts have increased the awareness of wardens to place inmates in
halfway houses.

%~gram Statement: Community Corrections Center Utilization and Transfer Procedures (Number
7310.01, Apr. 30, 1993).

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Problems with timely placements may remain as shown in internal audits
of the corrections program, BOP’S Program Review Division conducted
reviews of the correctional program at seven institutions during 1992.In
six of the seven audit reports, BOP reviewers identified deficiencies in
prerelease planning or community correction placement Deficiencies
cited included prerelease documentation was lacking, inmates were not
afforded the opportunity to properly prepare for reentry into the
community, and community correction center referrals were not
processed in the appropriate time frames.

,

Utilization Report for January 1993showed that agencywide
approximately 65 percent of the eligible inmates were transferred for
halfway house placement. For administrative,1o minimum-, low-, medium-,
and high-security-level facilities approximately 44 percent, 84 percent,
57 percent, 37.5 percent, and 5.3 percent of the inmates, respectively, were
transferred to halfway houses.

e

In the conference report on DOJ’S appropriations for fiscal year 1993,”
Congress directed BOP to provide an annual analysis of fiscal year 1992
newly awarded community correction centers’ contracts, which compares
the estimated requirements to actual usage at the end of the fiscal year.
The conference report referred to a report by the Senate Committee on
Appropriations, l2 which expressed concern that BOP had been using less
than the estimated requirements in its Grm fixed price contracts with some
community corrections centers. The Committee report stated that unused
beds have an adverse economic impact on the centers, which are unable to
make use of the empty, yet reserved beds. The Committee stated that it
considered the practice unfair to community corrections centers and that
it expected BOP to substantially improve the accuracy of its estimated
requirements. If a significant difference continues to be evident between
estimated requirements and actual usage,the report stated that the
Committee would consider directing BOP to utilize guaranteed minimum
requirement contracts.

f
1

BOP’s

analysis of its utilization of contract beds awarded in fiscal year 1992
showed that on average it used 87 percent of the contract bedspace. BOP
analysis also showed that the average utilization rate for all contract beds
BOP

‘“Administrative

includes inmates in court, detention, or medical facilities.

“See KR. Rep. No. 918, 102 Gong. 2d Sess. 41,42 (I!%?), accompanying theDepartments of
Commerce, Justice, and State, the Judiciary, and Related Agencies Appropriations Act., 1993, Public
Law 102395.
“S. Rep. No. 331, 102d Cong. 2d Sess 32 (1992).

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in fiscal year 1992was 84 percent. This was an improvement over the 1991
utilization rate of 77 percent.
increased emphasis to community correction managers to develop
better estimates and to wardens to increase their community correction
center placements probably accounts for some improvements. According
to BOP officials, BOPhas been increasing its use of community correction
centers while the courts have decreased their use. BOP officials attribute
past underutilization of contract bedspace to overestimtion by Judiciary’s
Probation and Pre-Trial Services Division for their requirements and some
overestimation by BOP based on anticipated increases because of the
Sentencing Reform Act of 1984.

BOP’S

Specific Recommendation
and Actions Taken

1. The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP, to clarify its
national policy on halfway house placements by providing better
definitions of vague criteria, such as ‘history of violence” and ‘use of a
weapon,” that are used in making placement decisions.

I
j

1

Action: BOP issued guidance that requires a memorandum signed by the
warden, which explains the rationale for excluding an inmate from
community correction programs based on “a history of violence” or “threat
to the community.“L3 Also, a program statement issued in June 1992on
security designation and custody classifications’* specifies public safety
factors that require increased security measures and provides examples
that apply the pubhc safety factors.
2. The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP, to ensure that
suitable inmates are identified for the halfway house program by adapting
procedures that have proven successful at prisons with high referral rates,
such as holding discussions with inmates and staff on program benefits,
requiring that denials be justified in writing, and reviewing denials and
approvals of halfway house placements.
Action: BOP issued guidance that establishes procedures for encouraging
inmate participation in halfway house programs and requires
documentation signed by an associate warden and the inmate when an
inmate refuses to participate in the placement program.
%-ogram Statement: Community Corrections Center Utilization and Transfer Procedures (Number
7310.01, Apr. 30, 1993).
‘%ogram Statement: Security Designation and Custody Classification Manual (Number 6100.04,
June 15, 1992).

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3. The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP, to ensure that
wardens start the placement process in a timely manner, in accordance
with the BOP g-month policy, so that inmates will receive the full benefit of
halfway house placement.
Action: BOP officials emphasized to wardens the need to improve
utilization of halfway houses. They also developed a report to monitor
institution placements in halfway houses. According to the BOP offrcials,
the report has increased warden awareness of their utilization rate for
placing eligible inmates in halfway houses. BOP uses program and
operational reviews in their institutions to monitor the timeliness of
placements.
4. The Attorney General should require the Director, BOP, to issue policy
guidelines defining the circumstances in which inmates could refuse to
accept a halfway house placement.
Action: BOP issued guidance that provides examples of appropriate reasons
an inmate might use to decline placement in a community corrections
center.

Private Prisons: Cost
Savings and BOP’s
Statutory Authority
Need to Be Resolved
(GAOIGGD-91-21,
Feb. 7, 1991)
Summary of Piloting
Privatization of Prisons

At the federal level, use of privatization has been limited to specialized
groups of offenders such as certain aliens and some unsentenced
offenders. GAO concluded that BOP does not have sufficient statutory
authority to use private prisons for the general adult inmate population.
BOP'S enabling legislation prescribes specific measures that may be used to
obtain prisoner housing. Contracts for privately operated correctional
facilities are not one of these measures. The report also concluded that
empirical studies on service and costs comparisons for privatization were
inconclusive; thus, more research and testing is needed.

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does not endorse the use of private prisons for its general adult inmate
population, Thus, they have not taken action on our recommendation. In
addition, as discussed in our report, BOP believes it has authority to make
private contracts for prisons on the basis of a statutory provision allowing
it to designate places of prisoner confinement and on the basis of general
principles of federal procurement law. In March 1992,the Department of
Justice, Office of Legal Counsel, rendered an opinion which generally
supported BOP’S position. We reviewed the DOJ legal decision and found
nothing to provide a basis for changing our conclusion,

BOP

fiscal year 1993budget included a request for $22 million to fund a
contract facility in the Southwest in a joint effort between BOP and the
Immigration and Naturalization Service. The 1,000bed facility is for
criminal aliens serving federal sentences and aliens being held for the
Immigration and Naturalization Service. The facility is expected to
centralize criminal aliens in order to expedite their deportation after
completion of their sentences. BOPawarded the contract to a company in
July 1993for a facility in Eloy, AZ.

BOP’S

Specific Recommendations
and Actions Taken

1. Congress should grant BOP explicit statutory authority to design and
implement demonstration programs and projects to fully test and evaluate
the benefits and limitations of privatization. Such legislation should
specifically authorize BOPto contract for privately operated prisons for
demonstration purposes and, among other concerns, should address the
need for adequate controls in these contracts to preserve the rights of
federal prisoners, ensure contractor accountability, and provide for
effective government oversight.
Action: No action taken. BOP believes it has statutory authority to contract
for private prisons, DOJ’S Office of Legal Counsel concurs with BOP.
2. If Congress grants authority, the Attorney General should direct NW to
assist BOP in determining the benefits and limitations of privatization. In
this regard, NWshould help design and build into BOP'S tests a research
component that would allow for empirical evaluations to demonstrate
privatization’s advantages, disadvantages, and conditions for greatest
potential.
Action: No action taken. BOPbelieves it has the capabilities within its
research department to compare the use of private prisons with its own
facilities.

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Appendix II

Major Contributors to This Report

General Government
Divison, Washington,
D.C.

(182820)

William Jenkins, Jr., Assistant Director, Administration of Justice Issues
Linda R. Watson, Evaluator-in-Charge
Barry Jay Seltser, Senior Social Science Analyst

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