Prison Inmates

Better Plans Needed Before Felons Are Released Gao ID: GGD-93-92 April 20, 1993

In studying inmates after their release from prison, GAO found that the Bureau of Prisons often failed to provide complete and timely release plans to probation officers. In more than half of GAO's sample of 73 cases, Bureau officials did not provide release plans to probation officers at least 60 to 90 days before an inmate's release. Plans were often nonexistent or lacked important information needed to monitor an inmate in the community. This shortcoming can lead to problems, such as an increased likelihood of inmates returning to crime, inmates being on the street with nowhere to go, and inmates not getting the medical or substance abuse treatment they need.

GAO found that: (1) BOP sent release plans to AOUSC within the required 60 to 90 days prior to inmate release for less than one-half of the inmates sampled and sent no release plans for 20 inmates; (2) in some cases, AOUSC was unaware of the inmates' release; (3) BOP sent almost one-half of the release plans less than 60 days before the inmates' release, which made timely approval of the plans difficult; (4) release plans often failed to include sufficient information on employment prospects, substance abuse treatment needs, medical needs, and psychiatric problems; (5) BOP internal controls were inadequate to ensure that release plans were timely and complete; (6) BOP prepared inmates for release by providing prerelease seminars and preparing regular inmate progress reports, which contained much of the information needed by probation officers; and (7) despite BOP policy that progress reports be forwarded to appropriate probation officers, BOP sent progress reports in only about one-half of the cases studied.


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