State Corrections Commissioner Victoria Kuhn says officials have acted to correct shortcomings identified in a state audit. (Photo by Darrin Klimek/Getty Images)
A state prison that provides specialized drug addiction services overpaid vendors and failed to provide required treatment to some incarcerated people in recovery there, a new state audit found.
The Mid-State Correctional Facility in Wrightstown paid $28,860 for internet service it never used, paid a health care provider thousands to treat people who had transferred to other facilities, and got paid by the state Department of Corrections $1 million more for fuel costs than it spent, investigators from state Auditor David Kaschak’s office found.
Auditors also uncovered shortcomings in how the prison, which sits on the grounds of Fort Dix in Burlington County, tracks employee sick leave. That signals some staff abuse sick time and could result in schedule disruptions and a need for increased overtime, according to the report.
Investigators blamed record-keeping deficiencies and insufficient oversight by both facility and state Department of Corrections officials.
“Failure to properly record costs for each facility distorts the department’s ability to accurately compare spending between facilities and cost per inmate calculations,” Kaschak wrote in the May 17 audit.
The audit comes after department Commissioner Victoria Kuhn submitted a $1.2 billion budget request that prompted concern by some legislators who wondered why the department’s budget didn’t fall even though the number of people incarcerated has plummeted since the pandemic’s start.
In a letter to the auditor’s office, Kuhn said the department made multiple changes to improve record-keeping and increase financial and operational oversight at the medium-security prison, where about 540 people are incarcerated. Besides about 40 incarcerated people assigned to facility maintenance, everyone imprisoned there receives treatment for drug addiction.
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