Vermont’s State Auditor Doug Hoffer has been taking a close look at how we spend some Corrections (DOC) dollars on transitioning prisoners back to civilian life.
Will it surprise anyone to learn that we aren’t managing that very well?
What we learn from the Auditor’s report is that in 2014 the state paid roughly $6 million dollars to 25 organizations charged with providing transitional services to about 1,000 departing inmates; roughly $6,000 per inmate.
The Auditor’s Office was interested in how well the providers were satisfying the terms of their grants, in three specific areas:
.Were the organizations developing individual plans of services for each client?
.Were they accurately reporting to the DOC what services had been provided?
.How was the DOC determining the effectiveness of these service interventions?
As it turns out, returns on that $6-mil investment are impossible to assess because the organizations charged with inmate transition often have failed to develop individual plans for their clients, and they often failed to provide accurate or supported reporting on the services they had provided.
The audit was provided as a follow-up to a 2013 investigation that centered around a non-compliant provider.
The 2014 audit found that often, individual service plans were not even being developed by some contractors.
“DOC’s program management was ineffective in this area,” Auditor Hoffer said, “and there were no consequences for grantees that failed to develop these plans.”
“Without accurate reporting, the State cannot adequately monitor this program to determine its effectiveness and compliance with the grant agreements,” Auditor Hoffer said.
Without detailed plans, recording of services and accurate reporting to the DOC so that it can assess how effective these services are in addressing public safety issues and recidivism, the Department’s investment may be substantially wasted.