A state audit found money that was supposed to be kept in the custody of the Department of Corrections and used on inmates’ behalf was actually going directly to an inmate, and in another case, an inmate’s community-corrections officer.
The audit out today from Auditor Troy Kelley’s office doesn’t allege any money was diverted to wrongful uses. But it does identify violations of state laws that require money to be handled through a special inmate bank account.
The money is for the education of prisoners with mental illness or developmental disabilities who are staying in halfway houses while on work-release. They stay at the Rap House or Lincoln House, both on South Yakima Street in Tacoma.
The report says a community corrections officer allowed an inmate to deposit college-grant money into a personal account to get a pre-paid debit card and buy books and a laptop computer for classes at Pierce College. The same officer also kept money to handle it on behalf of another inmate attending Tacoma Community College.
The department said in a response to the report that the incidents took place in October 2010 and by the end of that year the agency had reviewed them and informed employees and offenders that grant funds had to be deposited into the correct accounts.
UPDATE 3 p.m.: DOC described how the account works: Once it is stocked with money, an offender submits a request for funds and DOC considers whether to write the offender a check for the amount.