Thursday, June 16, 2011

Just Ridiculous

New Jersey contracts out its halfway house services to a private, for-profit company called Community Education Centers (CEC). They do this despite the fact that the state has a law explicitly stating that the only companies to whom these services can be contracted must be nonprofit.

CEC made headlines (but I neglected to report on them) last year for the wrongful releases of at least 7 prisoners from a jail in Delaware County, PA. They, like all other private corrections providers, cut corners in every area of operations, especially staffing, which led to the wrongful releases and a host of other issues typical of the industry.

So the NJ state comptroller's office audited the company and its contract performance. You're going to be shocked at what they found. "The audit released Wednesday found the state failed to take appropriate action against state-funded halfway house providers following inmate escapes. The state also overpaid other providers and paid some providers that were not fully accredited."

I know. It blew my mind too. The state actually overpaid the company by more than half a million dollars in a few short years. Three of six halfway houses audited didn't even have on site secured facilities which they contractually obligated to have. The lack of these facilities led to the escapes which prompted the audit, but which were apparently not enough to warrant the state exercising its right to fine the company $30,000 per escape.

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