March 9, 2016
“The Department of Corrections is facing severe difficulties that require our immediate response,” said State Senator Kathleen Vinehout (D-Alma). “I call upon my fellow members of the Joint Legislative Audit Committee to approve an audit of DOC. This audit is necessary to address grave issues of safety, overcrowding, repeat offenders, mental illness among inmates and management issues that are costing the state in dollars and safety of residents.”
Vinehout authored a letter requesting the Joint Audit Committee Co-Chairs to schedule a hearing to consider an audit of DOC. The letter was co-signed by over 40 legislators from around the state. The legislators share concern related to a number of issues including staff shortages, forced overtime and the reports of appalling treatment of juveniles at Lincoln Hills.
“The well-respected, nonpartisan, Legislative Audit Bureau has the know-how to understand the systemic problems faced by DOC and help lawmakers craft solutions,” said Vinehout. “A comprehensive program evaluation could identify challenging safety issues before people are hurt; help policy makers target resources to alleviate overcrowding; and spur needed changes in mental health treatment and the reintegration system to address the extraordinarily high number of those returning to prison.”
“Lives are at stake – the lives of staff, children and adult inmates. Enough anecdotal evidence exists to give us stark warning signs – something must be done. A nonpartisan audit could provide direction to move forward from the current crisis,” concluded Vinehout.
A copy of the letter is available at the link below.