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Regulatory issues.

Federal judicial security. According to a recent report issued by the General Accounting Office (GAO), the federal agencies responsible for ensuring judicial security have failed to meet basic requirements called for in 1982 by a federal task force.

In 1981, following the deaths of two federal judges, the Attorney General created the Task Force on Court Security to examine the effectiveness of security in the judicial system. Composed of representatives from the FBI, the U.S. Marshals Service, and other members of the Justice Department, the task force produced a number of recommendations that were endorsed by the Attorney General and the Chief Justice of the United States.

Among the recommendations was the establishment of a security committee in each of the ninety-four judicial districts. The committee was to be composed of the district U.S. marshal, the chief judge, and a representative of those responsible for building security. The task force recommended developing written security plans for all judicial facilities and conducting security surveys. Establishing a national database of information was also on the list of recommended security provisions. The database would contain information on budget requests, security resources, implementation of security technology, and other risk management activities.

The GAO report concludes that none of these provisions has been fully implemented. The report gave some additional suggestions but indicated that the former recommendations should be implemented in full prior to taking additional steps.

The federal agencies addressed have generally agreed with the recommendations. The agencies were required by law to present a formal reply and initiatives to the Senate Governmental Affairs Committee, the House Government Operations Committee, and the House and Senate Appropriations Committees by December 31, 1994.

Several of the federal agencies responsible for judicial security and affected by the report's findings have already taken preliminary steps in response to the GAO's comments. For example, active working groups have been formed with representatives from the agencies to discuss the report's conclusions, and the U.S. Marshals Service is conducting surveys of all courts to determine what steps should be taken to comply with the report.
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Publication:Security Management
Date:Jan 1, 1995
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