Audit: Incompetent California Dept. of Corrections is Also Stealing Money

Why raise taxes when Sacramento squanders our money? This is a logical and fair question posed recently in an editorial by long-serving Sacramento Bee statehouse reporter Dan Walters.Walters mentions a number of the most recent “boondoggles” on the California taxpayer by their statehouse.:  Read it all. However, one of the biggest, most corrupt scams in the state is getting very little attention by the state’s two largest newspaper/fishwrappers.

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State Controller John Chiang says the State Corrections department, which runs the jails, has mismanaged [maybe stolen??We need a grand jury on this]at least $31 million dollars.

Why isn’t this latest report on $31 million of waste and fraud in the State Corrections Office budget being reported?Will it interfere with Sacramento Democrats’ plan to raise taxes?

Realize as you read about this, that the corrections officers’ union, the jail guards, gave $7 million to California campaigns this year, including $2 million to elect Governor Jerry Brown. The union even brags in a video on its website that 104 out of 107 of its preferred candidates were elected. Do you think ANYONE IN SACRAMENTO will do anything to punish the money-stealing prison guards?

Another important fact: The absolute neglect and total incompentence of the California Corrections Department parole officers is the reason why kidnapping victim Jaycee Dugard was not found for 18 years, even though she was living with her two daughters in a backyard shanty in suburban San Francisco. Neighbors were reporting seeing her, but the bobbleheads who came to check on the sex offender kidnapper Phil Garrido, never found anything wrong. Because of the stupidity of the California Corrections department, a $20 million dollar settlement was paid to Jaycee last year.

One more important fact: Despite years of lawsuits and promises to make improvements, the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation is now under strict orders from the U.S. Supreme Court to release 33, 000 prisoners from the state court system due to inhumane living conditions. It’s so bad right now that Pelican Bay prisoners are on hunger strike. They’d rather die than be in the prison.

Pelican Bay --- hellhole prison run by state corrections scene of hunger strike

So now we learn, in additon to being a bunch of incompetent idiots who can’t see a parole violation if it hits them on the head, and can’t manage the jail populations despite years to do so, the California Corrections and Rehabilitation Department has “lost” $31 million. Heads should roll. Entire divisions of this useless, corrupt agency should be shut down. Better yet, screw them. Let’s have private prisons. They REALLY hate it when that gets mentioned!

Here is a report on the findings by California Watch.

Click here to read full report: “Internal audit on Corrections department travel and accounting” The following are excerpts:

“Chiang says that he noticed internal control deficiencies that put the state at risk of fraud and abuse. As of June 30, 2010, the bank reconciliation of the CDCR’s major account showed $27 million in unresolved funds on the bank balance. However, internal CDCR records show $31 million in unresolved funds. Chiang argues that anyone with access to CDCR funds could fraudulently issue checks with little chance of being detected. In addition, although state accounting procedures require two authorized signatures for payments of more than $15,000, the Controller’s review found two separate checks exceeding that amount without dual signatures.

Chiang has made 36 recommendations to CDCR fix the problems discovered. Chiang’s auditors will revisit CDCR in 12 months to assess the agencies progress in implementing changes.

The prison system accounts for more than 11 percent of California’s general fund spending.”

Here’s more careful language fromController Chiang’s Internal audit Summary:

“Our audit found serious internal control deficiencies over the department’s system of internal controls and procedures for processingORF transactions. These deficiencies could lead to waste, fraud, andmisappropriation of funds. Specifically, we identified the followingconcerns:

Inadequate collection efforts resulted in delayed collection of millionsof dollars in receivables from employee salary and travel advances.

The department has serious internal control deficiencies relate to ORFtransactions that could lead to fraud, abuse, and misappropriation of funds.

Invalid receivables related to salary advances and travel advanceswere not adjusted in a timely manner.

The department does not have sufficient written policies andprocedures for using the ORF.

Discharges from accountability were not filed, and discharges weremade internally without proper authority.

The department used the ORF to pay for other program expenses.The severity of internal control deficiencies identified in this audit raises concerns about the adequacy of administrative and internal accounting.”

Even the union-friendly Sacramento Bee stateworkers’ blog is embarrassed by the report [read all the way to his very LAST LINE:

“A fired state employee received a final lump-sum paycheck for nearly $15,000 — twice.

An $8,000 salary advance to one state worker went uncollected — for nearly three years.

Overpayments to employees approaching a half-million dollars were carried on the books for three years or more.

Those are just three examples of what Controller John Chiang this afternoon called, “grossly inadequate” payroll and travel advance tracking discovered through an audit of the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.

According to this press release, Chiang’s auditors reviewed CDCR records from July 1, 2009 through July 31, 2010. They found the department had more than $6 million in outstanding receivables related to salary and travel advances, with more than $4 million of that outstanding for more than two months and $465,000 carried on the books for more than three years.

Martin Hoshino, CDCR Undersecretary for Administration and Offender Services, didn’t dispute the audit. The department has implemented 22 of the 36 recommendations made by the controller, he said in the controller’s release, and has now “prioritized the vigorous collection of outstanding debts.”

The total outstanding balance has shrunk by $2.2 million since November 1, 2010, he said, and “we will continue in our efforts until we have surmounted the issues identified in this audit.”

One CDCR employee who was terminated last year received a lump sum check for $14,950 from a CDCR revolving fund to meet the deadline for cashing out employees when they exit state service. Then CDCR paid the employee full salary and another $14,950. “Six months later, there still was no effort to recoup the overpayment of $14,950,” the controller’s office said.

In a 2008 case, a CDCR employee received an advance of more than $8,000. Nearly three years later, the advance still hadn’t been collected. The employee still works for the department.

An observation from your humble blogger: It’s this kind of accounting trouble that weakens CDCR’s attempts to collect more than $4 million it says the California Correctional Peace Officers Association owes for unreimbursed union paid leave.

Call the CDCR and tell them what you think:

Secretary Matthew Cate
Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation
1515 S Street
Sacramento 95814
Phone: (916) 323-6001

CDCR Public Affairs Office: (916)445-4950

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