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Audit Audit of the Worcester County District Attorney's Office (Middle District)

Audit found that better data collection by the program can improve transparency and assessment of its success. The audit examines the period of October 4, 2013 through March 30, 2017.

Binder organization: Office of the State Auditor
Date published: March 23, 2018

Executive Summary

In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office—Middle District (WCDA) for the period July 1, 2014 through December 31, 2016. When reviewing the Young Adult Diversion Program, we extended our audit period to begin June 1, 2013. When reviewing the Victim/Witness Assistance Program, we extended our audit period to include the period October 4, 2013 through March 30, 2017.

In this performance audit, we examined WCDA’s activities related to the administration of its Young Adult Diversion Program, Victim/Witness Assistance Program, and Drug Forfeiture Community Reinvestment Program. Unlike the Victim/Witness Assistance Program and Drug Forfeiture Community Reinvestment Program, WCDA’s Young Adult Diversion Program is discretionary, is not governed by statute, and does not receive separate funding. Therefore our assessment of this program was based on its stated goals, national best practices, and general governmental operating standards. 

Below is a summary of our findings and recommendations, with links to each page listed.  

A PDF copy of the audit of the Worcester County District Attorney’s Office— Middle District is available here.

Finding 1a
 

WCDA should consider establishing a process to assess the effectiveness of the Young Adult Diversion Program in reducing recidivism.

Finding 1b
 

The Young Adult Diversion Program’s files did not have documentation that all participants completed all program requirements.

Finding 1c
 

WCDA did not require most Young Adult Diversion Program participants to complete online education programs.

Recommendations
 

  1. WCDA should identify the relevant data that could be used to assess the effectiveness of its Young Adult Diversion Program, establish a formal process to collect and evaluate this information, and use it to make any necessary program enhancements. If WCDA believes it needs more resources to perform these functions, including additional personnel, it should try to identify existing resources that could be allocated to these activities and/or request additional funding from the Legislature for this purpose.
  2. WCDA should amend its Programmatic Policies to require written documentation to substantiate the completion of the Young Adult Diversion Program.
  3. WCDA should maintain all such documentation in each participant’s file. Specifically, it should obtain certificates of completion for online programs and have authorized community service personnel complete and sign a document stating that the participant has completed community service.
  4. WCDA should expand its current online education programs to include all types of criminal offenses in the Young Adult Diversion Program. For criminal offenses covered by the Young Adult Diversion Program that have no online education programs, WCDA should offer an in-person program.
  5. WCDA should remove barriers to accessing online education programs by determining whether a different vendor offers similar programs in different languages and suggesting alternatives (such as public libraries) to individuals who state that they do not have access to a computer.

Contact

Phone

Fax

(617) 727-3014

Address

Massachusetts State House
Room 230
Boston, MA 02133

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