(The Center Square) — Republican auditor Scott Fitzpatrick gave the Missouri Corrections Department’s professional enterprise program a “passing” rating, but the department disagrees with several findings.
The memo says the ministry needs to improve its operations in several areas.
“The report contains multiple findings, or one or more findings that require management’s immediate attention, and/or the entity has indicated that multiple recommendations will not be implemented,” the report states in its rating definition. .
Fitzpatrick found that the ministry does not do adequate planning and oversight of the program to ensure it is fulfilling its mission. There are vacancies on the organization’s advisory board and board meetings have not been held as required by state law, the audit reported.
Fitzpatrick also said the organization’s programs do not meet the statutory goal of training and employing offenders to gain gainful employment upon release.
“The goal of this program is to help released prisoners reintegrate into society by teaching them a marketable skill – which will benefit them and their communities,” Fitzpatrick said in a statement. “Unfortunately, the department appears to have prioritized building a stable workforce of long-term offenders rather than supporting the program’s goal, which is to help offenders acquire the skills they need to find a job when they get out of prison.
The ministry’s response letter, written by Valarie Moseley, director of the Offender Rehabilitation Services Division, disagreed with four findings and suggestions.
The audit indicated that hiring practices should be developed and focus on employing offenders with a few years left to serve their sentence.
“Ninety-six percent of all offenders held by MODOC are released into the community,” the letter states. “That is why it is imperative that all offenders are offered education and employment opportunities, regardless of location or security level. …Ultimately, the length of the sentence does not determine an offender’s suitability for a specific employment opportunity, unless he cannot receive adequate training during the time he has left to serve. serve his sentence.
He disagrees that the department should develop performance measures to be used for future evaluation of the program and that the stated criteria are included in an annual budget book, available online.
The audit suggested the department should review the location of program facilities and ensure they comply with state law. The department disagreed and said it would continue to ensure the facilities “meet the primary purposes” of state law.
The department agreed or partially agreed with seven other recommendations.
“There is no doubt that the MVE program can have significant benefits for our state, but the Department of Corrections must implement corrective measures to realign the administration of the program with its goal of producing individuals who will have the opportunity to use their skills outside the environment. the correctional system,” Fitzpatrick said.