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Justice Grant Programs: DOJ Should Do More to Reduce the Risk of Unnecessary Duplication and Enhance Program Assessment

NCJ Number
239468
Date Published
July 2012
Length
80 pages
Annotation
This report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office presents an assessment of how the U.S. Department of Justice can reduce the risk of unnecessary duplication among its grant programs.
Abstract
This report to congressional committees by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) presents the results of an assessment of duplication among U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) grant programs. The assessment included a review of all 253 grant solicitations for fiscal year 2010 that were published by the Office of Justice Programs (OJP), Office on Violence Against Women (OVW), and the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) Office. The review found that these solicitations had program overlap across 10 justice areas: victim assistance; technology and forensics; juvenile justice; enhancing policing; justice information sharing; courts; community crime prevention strategies; mental illness, substance abuse, and crime; corrections, recidivism, and reentry; and multi-purpose. While some program overlapping may be unavoidable, the report notes that the existence of overlapping grant programs may be an indication that agencies need to increase their visibility of where grant funds are going. The assessment also found that in some instances, DOJ had awarded grant funding from overlapping programs to the same applicants for the same or similar purposes. As a result of the assessment, DOJ has taken steps to consolidate and coordinate similar grant programs. Other findings from the assessment include the fact that DOJ has not assessed its grant programs to identify and reduce overlap, DOJ's granting agencies do not have policies and procedures to ensure coordination to limit the risk of unnecessary duplication, DOJ uses separate grant management systems which may limit award coordination, and DOJ does not submit grant data to USASpending.gov in a timely manner and thus is not fully utilizing the Web site's subgrant award information before making grant award decisions. Recommendations for improving DOJ's grant programs are included. Figures, tables, and appendixes