Oversight of DOJ Funds for Recreational Activities

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Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Justice (DOJ) awards an array of law enforcement and criminal justice grants to states, localities, and private and not-for-profit organizations to help prevent crime in their communities. From fiscal years 2008 through 2009, DOJ's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) awarded over 7,900 grants totaling over $4.2 billion. Some DOJ grant programs emphasize the prevention of crime and juvenile delinquency, and in some instances, DOJ's grant funds have been used, in part, to support recreational activities for youth involving various sports programs and field trips. In ... continued below

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United States. Government Accountability Office. June 18, 2010.

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Description

Correspondence issued by the Government Accountability Office with an abstract that begins "The Department of Justice (DOJ) awards an array of law enforcement and criminal justice grants to states, localities, and private and not-for-profit organizations to help prevent crime in their communities. From fiscal years 2008 through 2009, DOJ's Office of Justice Programs (OJP) awarded over 7,900 grants totaling over $4.2 billion. Some DOJ grant programs emphasize the prevention of crime and juvenile delinquency, and in some instances, DOJ's grant funds have been used, in part, to support recreational activities for youth involving various sports programs and field trips. In addition, DOJ grant recipients, such as a state's department of juvenile justice services, may provide grant funds to a subgrantee, like the Boys and Girls Club of America, to carry out various activities, such as mentoring or antigang initiatives, within the overall parameters of the grant program. However, no DOJ grant programs are designed to fund recreational activities exclusively. This letter responds to a congressional request to determine (1) the extent to which DOJ tracks grant funds spent on recreational activities, and how, if at all, DOJ assesses the impact of federally funded recreational activities on crime prevention and reduction; and (2) how much DOJ grant funding has been used to support recreational activities. As discussed with congressional staff in March 2010, DOJ does not maintain, and is not required to maintain, the information necessary to consistently determine (a) if recreational activities were funded through a DOJ grant program, and the impact of those activities, or (b) specific funding amounts used to support such activities. Such determinations would require a baseline definition of what a "recreational activity" would encompass, and a requirement and method for grant recipients to document the specific scope, nature, associated costs, and impact of each specific activity carried out under the grant. Absent this information from DOJ, we sought to independently identify and isolate recreational activities that were funded through various DOJ grant programs, but were unable to identify their scope, nature, cost, and impact due to various challenges. In particular, when reviewing selected grant recipients' program descriptions, we experienced difficulty distinguishing between the recreational and nonrecreational activities grant recipients implemented. Moreover, in cases where program descriptions identified activities that could be considered recreational in nature, we were consistently unable to determine the specific costs of these activities. Thus, as agreed with congressional staff in March 2010, given the limitations in available data on the nature and costs of grants awarded for recreational activities, this letter (1) elaborates on the extent to which DOJ gathers and maintains information on grant recipients recreational activities, and (2) discusses challenges and limitations we encountered in analyzing a sample of DOJ grant documents."

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Government Accountability Office Reports

The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) is an independent, nonpartisan agency that works for the U.S. Congress investigating how the federal government spends taxpayers' money. Its goal is to increase accountability and improve the performance of the federal government. The Government Accountability Office Reports Collection consists of over 13,000 documents on a variety of topics ranging from fiscal issues to international affairs.

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  • June 18, 2010

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  • June 12, 2014, 7:50 p.m.

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United States. Government Accountability Office. Oversight of DOJ Funds for Recreational Activities, text, June 18, 2010; Washington D.C.. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc302534/: accessed September 25, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.