Obama administration criticism of the open government watchdog community overlooks the gap between good policy and implementation, said Nate Jones while speaking earlier this month on a Freedom of Information Act panel at American University.
The Justice Department is a highly federated organization, acknowledged Rick Holgate, chief information officer of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, meaning that historically components are accustomed to doing things their own way. "There isn't a lot of institutional motivation, if you will, for sharing solutions," but tightening financial conditionals will make the virtue of sharing a necessity, he said.
The Justice Department does not consistently check references for potential law-enforcement hires, says the agency's office of inspector general. Only three of the agency's 39 components reviewed for the audit have clear written policies that give specific guidance and questions for reference checks, says the report, despite the Office of Personnel Management and the Merit Systems Protection Board suggestions that agencies check references for all potential hires.
Public funding for research into gun violence has dwindled since the mid-1990s, as a result of pressure from the gun lobby, says a new report from Mayors Against Illegal Guns. The advocacy group released the report Jan. 14 to mark one month after the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Because they didn't coordinate, two Justice Department components separately inspected dozens of the same jails and prisons in recent years--and often returned with conflicting findings, the DOJ office of inspector general says. The Office of the Federal Detention Trustee and the U.S. Marshals Service both inspect facilities to make sure they're secure and humane.
The former head of the Justice Department's National Drug Intelligence Center says the war on drugs has been a massive failure and argues for a focus on treatment in a Dec. 27 paper. The author favors a solution that includes treatment for addiction on demand and mandated treatment as a condition of probation or pretrial release for drug offenders.
A tool the Justice Department acquired in 2011 to decide how to staff its grant-making components has yet not been a factor in budget planning and may not contribute even to fiscal 2015 plans, the Government Accountability Office says. DOJ spent $2 million on a staffing model for the three components.
About a quarter of the Justice Department budget goes to the Bureau of Prisons, which appears likely to consume more of the DOJ budget in the coming decade, the Urban Institute says. The president's fiscal 2013 budget request for the BOP was almost $7 billion, up $278 million from the fiscal 2012 enacted budget, the institute says in a Dec. 11 report (.pdf).
Seven federal judges are suing the United States to provide years of unpaid cost-of-living adjustments for all of the nation's federal judges through a class action suit. The suit claims that Congress violated the Constitution when it did not pay federal judges the mandated pay raises in 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2007 and 2010.
Justice Department-approved changes to National Counterterrorism Center guidance on data retention rolled out earlier this year were the subject of intense debate within the Obama administration, The Wall Street Journal reports. Administration opposition to the March NCTC guidelines revision was led by Mary Ellen Callahan, the then-DHS chief privacy officer.