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An Audit Report on Community Justice Assistance Division Diversion Program Grants at the Department of Criminal Justice

September 2012

Report Number 13-004

Overall Conclusion

The Community Justice Assistance Division (Division) within the Department of Criminal Justice (Department) cannot demonstrate that its process for awarding Diversion Program grants is based on consistent evaluation criteria. The Division provided a total of $215 million in Diversion Program grants to local community supervision and corrections departments (local departments) in the 2010-2011 biennium (see Appendix 2 for additional details).

Local departments submit community justice plans when they apply for Diversion Program grants. Those plans outline projected program outputs and outcomes. The Division assigned a score to each local department's community justice plan for the 2012-2013 biennium. However, Division documentation indicated that the amounts of Diversion Program grants the Division actually awarded were based on performance information for the local departments that was not incorporated into those scores.

The Division also should improve its financial and program monitoring to ensure that local departments spend funds from Diversion Programs grants as intended. Specifically:

- Financial Monitoring. The Division's financial monitoring of local departments relies primarily on reviewing the reports from audits of financial statements and compliance-related information that external auditors conduct at local departments. However, the Division's guidance and checklist for those audits do not contain sufficient detail. In addition, the Division does not consistently review the reports from those audits in a timely manner or follow up to determine whether local departments correct issues identified in those audits.

- Program Monitoring. The Division conducts its own program monitoring at local departments. Its program monitoring includes reviewing local departments' compliance with special grant conditions. However, the Division does not determine whether local departments' performance output and outcome reports are accurate, and it does not have an adequate risk assessment to select local departments at which to perform program monitoring.

The Division also should improve its monitoring of available funds to ensure that it maximizes the use of Diversion Program grants. The Division awarded a one-time grant that enabled it to retain Diversion Program grant funds that it otherwise would have been required to return to the State's General Revenue Fund. Specifically, on the next-to-last day of the 2010-2011 biennium (August 30, 2011), the Division:

- Awarded the Tarrant County Community Supervision and Corrections Department a one-time Diversion Program Grant for $2,400,000.

- Requested that the Tarrant County Community Supervision and Corrections Department not spend the $2,400,000 and refund that amount to the Division during the subsequent fiscal year.

The Tarrant County Community Supervision and Corrections Department refunded the $2,400,000 to the Division in December 2011, which enabled the Division to have use of those funds during the subsequent biennium. Through this process, the Division was able to avoid the appropriation limitation by moving funds from one biennium to the next biennium.

Auditors communicated other, less significant issues to the Department separately in writing.

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