Audit: Dept. of Corrections finds dire need to improve managemen - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

Audit: Dept. of Corrections finds dire need to improve management of inmate data

Source: WAFB Source: WAFB
BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) -

A report from the Louisiana’s Legislative Auditor says the state’s Department of Corrections needs to manage the data of Louisiana’s 35,000 inmates more effectively. The audit found a dire need for the DOC overhaul its existing policies and procedures to manage offender data, as well as making it more secure.

More than half of Louisiana’s 35,000 inmates are housed in parish jails and work release centers. The remaining portion of inmates are housed in the state’s nine correctional facilities. Given the number of inmates statewide, the audit recommends that the DOC should have centralized, accurate, and up-to-date information on all offenders.

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The main problem discovered by the audit is that data stored in the DOC’s primary mechanism for tracking offenders in the state, Criminal and Justice Unified Network system or CAJUN, is not always accurate. The inaccurate data can limit the ability of officials to make decisions about offenders.

Auditors also determined the DOC has no timeframe for when local facilities must notify DOC of a transfer to another facility. In a review of 100 files, 11 offenders were at a facility other than what was listed in Cajun. Of those 11 offenders, four were violent offenders.

According to DOC, in 2016 it took an average of 22 days from the time an offender was transferred to another facility for the transfer to be input into CAJUN. Auditors say this means that for 22 days, the DOC did not know the location of a given offender. In one case, auditors say the DOC thought an offender convicted of attempted second-degree murder was at the Evangeline Parish Jail for 166 days when the offender was at another facility more than 100 miles away.

In an alarming find, auditors discovered former DOC employees still have access to the CAJUN system, including the ability to change data in the system. Auditors found 38% of CAJUN user IDs were assigned to former DOC employees, which poses a risk to the security of the data.

“Without proper revocation procedures, there is a risk that former DOC employees may be able to make unauthorized changes to offender data,” Legislative Auditors said in a news release.

Auditors also determined the DOC has no timeframe for when local facilities must notify DOC of a transfer to another facility. In a review of 100 files, 11 offenders were at a facility other than what was listed in Cajun. Of those 11 offenders, four were violent offenders.

The audit found the DOC lacks procedures to properly identify data errors in the CAJUN system. Of 100 offender files sampled at nine local facilities and one state facility, it was found that 19% of offender files had at least one error in the CAJUN system. The DOC’s procedures for calculating offender release dates are inconsistent, according to the audit. Auditors said the DOC does not have any policies, manuals, or standardized guidance that clearly defines the proper way to calculate an inmate’s release date.

The DOC spent $3.6 million on a data system that was supposed to be more efficient, but failed due to inadequate planning and testing, auditors found. The new object management system went live on June 15, 2015, but was taken offline just over a month later, on July 31, 2015, due to system failures. 

See the full PDF of the LLA's audit of the DOC below. 

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