Justice unit turns to AT&T for prison bed work

Inmates can rest assured they'll get a good night's sleep thanks to a Web-based repository that lets federal officials quickly find available bed space for them.

AT&T Government Solutions of Vienna, Va., won a five-year, $3 million contract extension to continue providing support for the National Repository for Detention Space Availability program.

The Justice Department's Office of the Federal Detention Trustee (OFDT) awarded AT&T and Appriss Inc. of Louisville, Ky., the original contract to build the repository in July 2003. The Internet-based tool was launched March 1, 2004.

OFDT and other agencies'including the U.S. Marshals Service, the Federal Bureau of Prisons, and the Bureau of Immigration and Customs Enforcement'use the repository to identify state, local and private detention space available for federal use. The repository also serves as a central database of available detention locations, which allows officials to quickly identify where prisoners can be housed in particular geographic areas.

OFDT was established in September 2001. Reporting directly to the deputy attorney general, the office coordinates detention activities for the Justice Department and the Homeland Security Department's Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency. The office reported that 63,771 people were held in federal detention at of the end of fiscal 2002, the most recent data available on its Web site.

AT&T Government Solutions and Appriss also teamed up in July 2000 on the federal Victim Notification System, which notifies victims of federal crimes on the custody and court status of offenders under the jurisdiction of the FBI.

Roseanne Gerin is a staff writer for Government Computer News' sister publication, Washington Technology.

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