Audit faults detention centers

Problems found with fees, medical care expenses

April 04, 2004|By Ryan Davis | Ryan Davis,SUN STAFF

Anne Arundel County inmates are getting medical care too cheaply, and work-release inmates are being undercharged for their expenses, according to a county audit of its detention centers that was released Friday.

The report also says the detention centers have been improperly collecting $25 fees from inmates enrolled in a community service program. And it notes several examples of other improper fee collections and inadequate oversight of funds.

"I'm not overly alarmed," said Richard J. Baker, the superintendent of detention facilities. "With any audit you're going to find ways to improve what you do. ... A lot of it's just recordkeeping that's pretty easy to address, and we will."

The county runs detention centers on Jennifer Road near Annapolis and on Ordnance Road in Glen Burnie.

The report by auditor Teresa Sutherland, dated March 29, says the centers should collect the salaries of work-release inmates, deduct the cost of monitoring the inmates and their court costs, then return the remaining money to inmate accounts.

Instead, the centers have been charging work-release inmates $10 a day. Expenses to care for an inmate are $82 a day, Baker wrote in his response to the audit.

He said he has not been charging that amount because it would be more than most work-release inmates can afford. He said he will seek a legal opinion on what he should do.

The auditor said detention centers don't seek reimbursement to help pay the county's $3.3 million contract for medical care, as they should.

Baker responded that "the department has not pursued this because it would not be cost-effective."

He said he has discontinued charging inmates $25 for participation in the community-service program.

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