Saturday, April 23, 2011

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Quis custodiet ipsos custodes? is a Latin phrase from the Roman poet Juvenal, which is literally translated as "Who will guard the guards themselves?"

In Maryland, one of the audit departments, is the Office of Legislative Audits' (OLA). On April 1, 2011 they did an audit of the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services Division of Pretrial Detention and Services. They found a number of things wrong but the one that struck me was this one I have cut and paste below;

Contaminated Inmate Funds
Finding 4

Controls over contaminated inmate funds were inadequate, allowing a DPDS
management employee to misappropriate inmate funds totaling $12,500.

Controls over contaminated inmate funds were inadequate and, consequently, a management employee misappropriated $12,500 over an approximate three-year period. These funds, which were received occasionally during the inmate intake process, were contaminated from bodily fluids, such as blood.

According to DPDS management, beginning in June 2006, DPDS mistakenly believed that the local bank branch would no longer accept contaminated funds for deposit. The aforementioned management employee collected all contaminated funds, which totaled $12,500 between June 2006 and November 2008, and allegedly disposed of the funds in a county landfill. State general funds were then improperly transferred to the related inmate accounts. However, it was later determined that this employee had misappropriated these funds. We were advised by the State Treasurer’s Office that the bank did accept deposits of contaminated funds during this period at another location.

In November 2008, DPDS revised its procedures for contaminated funds so that the funds were maintained in a safe until the inmates were released. These procedures continued to be inadequate because the funds were not deposited in a bank. According to DPDS records, contaminated inmate funds collected from November 2008 through June 2010 totaled approximately $3,600, including approximately $1,850 which was on hand as of June 30, 2010.

In April 2010, the Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services
(DPSCS) Internal Investigative Unit conducted an investigation of the
contaminated funds that were received during the period from June 2006 through
November 2008. During the investigation, the aforementioned management
employee admitted to misappropriating contaminated funds. Consequently,
DPDS terminated the employee from State service and referred the matter to the Office of the Attorney General’s Criminal Division. In August 2010, the former employee paid restitution in the amount of $12,500, which was credited to the State’s General Fund. In October 2010, the former employee pled guilty to felony
theft and received a six-month suspended sentence, unsupervised probation, and
community service.

Recommendation 4
We recommend that DPDS establish controls over contaminated funds by properly depositing these funds in the bank

Again you will notice almost no sentence given to this person (a six-month suspended sentence, unsupervised probation, and community service)

My recollection of how we handled this at the Wicomico County Detention Center was we handled it the same as regular cash except we wrapped the money in a note to tell the bank teller the money may be soaked in body fluids, naturally the county money handlers always used rubber gloves when counting ANY money that was received in. As most of us know - currency and coins are filthy with well filth of all kinds regardless rather it is received from an inmate or bank or retail store. So the question is did the bank simply give it back out as cash to an unsuspecting customer?

No comments: