Box 7-3

Recommendations from Two Reviews of the Coverdell Grant Program

2005 - We believe that Coverdell Grant Program Announcements must provide necessary guidance to applicants and request the information required for NIJ to evaluate the external investigation certifications and conduct effective oversight of the grants. To meet the requirements of the Justice for All Act of 2004, we recommend that OJP, as part of its oversight of NIJ:

  1. Require that all Coverdell Grant Program Announcements contain guidance on what constitutes an independent external investigation and examples of government entities and processes that could satisfy the certification requirement.

  2. Require that each Coverdell Grant applicant, prior to receiving funds, provide the name of the government entity with a process in place to conduct independent external investigations into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct.

  3. Consider requiring each Coverdell Grant applicant, prior to receiving funds, to submit a letter from the government entity that will conduct independent external investigations acknowledging that the entity has the authority and process to investigate allegations of serious negligence or misconduct.

2006 - To improve OJP’s administration of the Coverdell Program and better ensure that allegations of negligence or misconduct are subject to independent external investigation, the OIG recommends that OJP take the following actions:

  1. Revise the certification template to require that applicants name the government entities and confirm that the government entities have:

    1. the authority,

    2. the independence,

    3. a process in place that excludes laboratory management, and

    4. the resources to conduct independent external investigations into allegations of serious negligence or misconduct by labs that will received Coverdell funds.

  1. Provide applicants with guidance that allegations of serious negligence or misconduct substantially affecting the integrity of forensic results are to be referred to the certified government entities.

  2. Revise and document the Coverdell Program application review process so that only applicants that submit complete external investigation certifications are awarded grants.

SOURCE: U.S.DOJ Office of the Inspector General. 2005. Review of the Office of Justice Programs’ Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program, Evaluation and Inspections Report I-2006-002. Available at www.usdoj.gov/oig/semiannual/0605/ojp.htm; U.S. DOJ OFFICE of Inspector General. 2008. Review of the Office of Justice Programs’ Forensic Science Improvement Grant Program, Evaluation and Inspections Repor t I-2008-001.



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