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.