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Audits Show Maryland Corrections Department in Disarray

Legislative audits dating back to 2010 reveal a host of managerial and accounting failures and other deficiencies at the beleaguered Maryland Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services.

The department is under fire for a corruption scandal involving correctional officers assisting a violent gang in its criminal enterprise at the Baltimore City Detention Center, according to a federal indictment.

Governor O’Malley called the federal indictments a “positive achievement” expressed his full support of DPSCS Secretary Gary Maynard.  O’Malley appointed Maynard in 2007, and in a pre-scandal interview with the Baltimore Sun editorial board called Maynard “awesome.”

A string of legislative audits show DPSCS has more than just a corruption problem.

An October 2010 audit report of the department’s Baltimore region disclosed “serious procedural and record keeping deficiencies” including failure to reconcile inmate funds with the state Comptroller’s records, comingling inmate and general funds, and made “unsupported questionable check disbursements and cash withdrawals.”

DPSCS and the Comptroller’s accounting procedures require a periodic reconciliation if inmate funds with the Comptroller’s records.  The department failed to perform that reconciliation and left a $314,000 unresolved difference between inmate funds and Comptroller’s records.

Auditors found that DPSCS transferred nearly $50,000 between general funds and inmate fund between April 2008 and April 2009, without authorization from the Comptroller, and that a $31,500 advance from the Comptroller for the inmate fund transferred to the general fund was not repaid.

The audit also found that DPSCS made more than $100,000 in unsupported cash, check, and salary advance disbursements.

A January 2012 audit report of the Maryland Correctional Enterprises, a division of DPSCS, revealed that inmates processing claims submitted by physicians to Maryland’s Medicaid program, were not prohibited from having access to personal information, such as social security numbers.  Although MCE used a computer program to redact sensitive personal information, before inmates performed data entry, not all forms had social security numbers redacted.   MCE was unaware of the problem until auditors disclosed their findings.  This occurred a year after passage of state law barring inmates from having access to sensitive personal information.

Other negative DPSCS audits include:

An April 2011 report of the Department of Pretrial Detention and Services showed that DPDS agreement with the State’s Attorney’s office failed to contain specific deliverables and payment terms.  DPDS improperly calculated annual and sick leave resulting in employees earning more than allowed, and some of those employees received overpayments for leave when the stopped working for DPDS.

A January 2012 audit of the DPSCS Information Technology and Communications Division found that ITCD failed to maintain sufficient password control over it’s computer system and database, and its firewalls were not structured to protect the department’s network from third parties.

A November 2012 audit of the DPSCS Office of the Secretary showed that the office could not account for over $300,000 in missing equipment and did not report $22,500 in missing or stolen equipment.

A February 2012 report of the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board revealed that the board made payments to claimants that were not in compliance with state laws and failed to provide supporting documentation for some award payments.  CICB also failed to adequately protect its electronic claims database from unauthorized access, and did not request claimants to provide social security numbers in order to determine proper award amounts.

A list of DPSCS audits can be found here.

The Maryland Office of Legislative Audits provides the latest reports via email.  Anyone can sign up to receive audits by registering here.

Mark Newgent

Mark Newgent is the editor of Watchdog Wire - Maryland, and a contributing editor to Red Maryland, the premiere blog of conservative politics in the Free State, voted one of the best state political blogs by the Washington Post two years in a row. His writing has appeared in the Baltimore Sun, Washington Examiner, National Review Online, and more. Contact: Maryland@WatchdogWire.com, Twitter: @MarkNewgent

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Categories: Criminal Justice, Feautured, Must Read, Waste, Fraud and Abuse
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