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BCSO Did Not Submit Required Inmate Total Cost Analysis Reports.

Audit recommends the BCSO work with the Massachusetts Sheriff's Association to obtain revised report templates in order to submit annual inmate cost analysis reports.

Table of Contents

Overview

BCSO did not prepare, and submit to the appropriate government agencies and legislative committees, inmate total cost analysis reports4 for fiscal years 2016 and 2017. As a result, these governmental entities may not have had all the information they needed to properly inform their consideration of any policy, operational, or financial issues regarding BCSO’s operations. Further, BCSO lacked detailed information in this area that could have allowed it to manage this aspect of its operations more effectively.

Authoritative Guidance

According to Line Item 8910-7110 in the Commonwealth’s fiscal year 20185 budget summary,

Each sheriff's office shall . . . report, in a format designated by the [Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association], in consultation with the executive office for administration and finance, fiscal year 2017 total costs per inmate by facility and by department not later than December 1, 2017; provided further, that each sheriff's office shall submit the report directly to the executive office for administration and finance, the house and senate committees on ways and means, the joint committee on public safety and homeland security, the executive office of public safety and security, the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association and the department of correction.

Reasons for Issue

According to BCSO management, the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association (MSA) did not provide the inmate total cost analysis report template that prescribed the required format of these reports, as it had done in previous years, and therefore BCSO could not prepare them. BCSO does not have any policies and procedures that prescribe how the annual report preparation process is to be conducted.

Recommendation

BCSO should work with MSA to obtain revised report templates in order to prepare and submit fiscal year 2016 and 2017 inmate total cost analysis reports as soon as possible.

Auditee’s Response

The BCSO had in fact processed the information in parts to the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association by the mandated reporting deadline. The MSA did report on behalf of all Sheriffs’ departments as part of their duties and reporting requirements to [the Executive Office for Administration and Finance] and the Legislature by the deadline set forth. These reports for [fiscal years] 2016 and 2017 were provided to the Audit team the next business day after the closeout meeting. They will again be provided for 2018 to the MSA as part of the annual reporting requirements of the MSA to the Legislature. Said reports demonstrate that the Bristol County Sheriff's Department has the lowest cost of care for inmates in the Commonwealth.

Auditor’s Reply

Although BCSO did provide us with copies of the reports it mentions in its response, our review of these reports indicated that they were deficient in that they did not contain information on total costs per inmate for each facility and department as required by statute. Further, contrary to statute, they were not submitted directly to the Executive Office for Administration and Finance, the House and Senate Committees on Ways and Means, the Joint Committee on Public Safety and Homeland Security, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security, MSA, and the Department of Correction.

4.    Inmate total cost analysis reports are compiled by each sheriff’s office in conjunction with the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association and detail the total costs for the care and custody of inmates for each facility and department.

5.    The fiscal year 2017 budget included the same requirement for the previous fiscal year.

Date published: February 13, 2019
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