Courts & Crime

Auditors identify Justice Department problems, challenges

It’s report card time at the Justice Department, where the Office of Inspector General on Monday identified some problem areas and potential challenges.

The memo from Inspector General Michael Horowitz summarizes the “most pressing concerns” for the department, ranging from the “persisting crisis in the federal prison system” to “safeguarding national security consistent with civil rights and liberties.”

The annual memo, compiled since 1998, essentially sums up the findings of specific audits and investigation. It provides a wealth of information, on issues like the dramatically rising cost of prison health care.

According to Bureau of Prisons data cited in the memo, for instance, the cost for providing health care services to inmates increased a jaw-dropping 55 percent from FY 2006 to FY 2013. Much of the increase is attributed to the rising age of inmates.

“The BOP spent over $1 billion on inmate health care services in FY 2013, which nearly equaled the entire budget of the U.S. Marshals Service (USMS) or the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF),” the memo notes.