Department of Correctional Services

Controls Over Inmate Accounts at Five Correctional Facilities in New York City

In work release programs operated by the Department of Correctional Services, inmates are allowed into the community to work or be trained in job skills. Inmates' personal funds, including their paychecks from work release jobs, are kept in accounts managed by the facilities. We examined the controls over inmate accounts at five facilities in New York City and found that, at four of the facilities, the amount of cash in the bank was less than the amount indicated by facility records. The combined recorded cash shortage totaled about $105,000. Because internal controls at the facilities are so weak, we cannot rule out the possibility that the recorded shortages are the result of fraud. We note that such shortages must be reimbursed by taxpayer funds, and plan to refer this matter to the State Attorney General for further investigation.

To help inmates in work release programs find jobs, the facilities may loan funds to the inmates. We found that these loans are not adequately accounted for and often are not repaid. In addition, inmates in work release programs are required to pay the facilities a weekly fee, which the facilities are required to remit to the State Treasury. We estimated that, over a 41-month period, about $1.3 million in fees had either not been remitted or had never been collected. We also found that, if greater use were made of advanced computer technologies, inmate account transactions could be processed more efficiently and effectively. 95-S-89