View Full Version : Report blasts state's corrections spending


danielle
09-16-2003, 02:24 AM
Report blasts state's corrections spending


By VICKI FERSTEL

Suburban writer
Corrections Secretary Richard Stalder.
An inspector generalís report issued Monday took aim at what it claimed was wasteful spending by state corrections officials in housing too many state prisoners at higher-priced local prisons.
The report claims the state Department of Public Safety and Corrections wasted more than $900,000 this past year by housing too many prisoners at the Morehouse, Natchitoches and Sabine detention centers in North Louisiana.

The law enforcement districts sheriffs; offices in those parishes, back in the early 1990s, expanded their prisons under a state law that allowed additional payments in order to cover the construction costs.

Corrections Secretary Richard Stalder, in his written response to the findings of Inspector General Bill Lynch, said the arrangement actually saved the state millions of dollars in construction and debt service costs.

Stalder also claimed that local sheriffs have the authority on where to house the prisoners, not his office a claim Lynch's report disputes.

The state is responsible for about 36,000 prisoners, of whom 20,000 are housed in state prisons and 16,000 at parish and municipal jails, the report said.

Under state law, the state pays $22.39 per day per inmate to house the prisoners at the local prisons.

But, during a prison population crunch in the early 1990s, the state entered into 20-year cooperative endeavor agreements with Sabine, Natchitoches, Morehouse and Vernon parishes to expand their prisons.

The Vernon and Sabine agreements have since expired.

The agreements authorize the state to pay an additional $7 per inmate per day at those prisons, but required the state to fill only 40 percent of those beds.

Lynch and his staff discovered that in the past year, the state prisoner population was 93 percent of capacity at Morehouse, 100 percent of capacity at Natchitoches and 60 percent of capacity at Sabine.

This at a time when Lynch claims more than 3,000 beds are available in local prisons a claim Stalder refutes.