Federal Judicial SecurityComprehensive Risk-Based Program Should Be Fully Implemented Gao ID: GGD-94-112 July 14, 1994
Executive branch security experts and judges believe that the federal judiciary is becoming an increasingly dangerous place in which to work. Most district marshals believe that judicial personnel are generally safe in judicial facilities but less so away from them. Likewise, most judges believe that security at court buildings is adequate and are more concerned about off-site security. Key aspects of the comprehensive on-site judicial security program recommended by the 1982 task force are not yet fully in place. The Marshals Service has not finished (1) establishing a security committee in each federal judicial district; (2) completing security surveys and plans for all judicial facilities in all districts; and (3) implementing a complete national database to manage security resources and programs. The judicial security program is not comprehensive enough in that it does not evaluate off-site security. The Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts and the Judicial Conference have not systematically overseen and monitored the effectiveness of the security program and the use of appropriated funds.
GAO found that: (1) the working environment for judges and federal judicial personnel is becoming increasingly dangerous; (2) although district marshal officials believe judicial personnel are generally secure within and around judicial facilities, they believe that judicial personnel are less secure away from these facilities; (3) most judges view judicial facility security as adequate and are more concerned with off-site security; (4) many key aspects of the judicial security program have not been fully implemented; (5) the Marshals Service has not established a representative and security committee for each federal judicial district, completed the necessary judicial facility security surveys, or implemented a national security database to effectively manage security resources and programs; (6) the judicial security program is not comprehensive, since it does not evaluate off-site security issues; (7) the General Services Administration (GSA) and the Marshals Service lack effective coordination in their security surveys and plans; (8) the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (AOUSC) and the Judicial Conference have not systematically overseen and effectively monitored the security program and the use of appropriated funds; and (9) any fundamental changes in security management responsibilities should be deferred until the comprehensive security program is implemented.Recommendations
Our recommendations from this work are listed below with a Contact for more information. Status will change from "In process" to "Open," "Closed - implemented," or "Closed - not implemented" based on our follow up work.Director: Team: Phone: