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State Auditor: Illinois DOC Kept Sloppy Records of Guns and Money

According to a state auditor's report covering a two-year period ending June 30, 2002, the Illinois Department of Corrections (DOC) failed to keep proper track of all of its weapons. One weapon on the DOC inventory could not be located and more than a dozen weapons' records did not show their actual location. The auditor general noted that failure to account for DOC weapons puts the state at risk of liability by making it easier for unauthorized persons to gain access to the weapons.

DOC Spokesman Barry Fairchild said that the DOC had already tightened its procedures in accounting for weapons and stated that lapses were generally due to an employee forgetting to fill out the paperwork when a weapon is taken off the inventory.

An additional fault discovered in the audit was that former Agriculture Department Personnel Director Lynnette Jones, who had been executive assistant to Corrections Director Donlad Snyder, had been being paid by the DOC while working for Agriculture. The DOC's explanation for this unusual procedure in which Agriculture reimbursed the DOC for the $136,562 (March 2001 to June 2002) salary was that the DOC wished to retain access to Jones's expertise on drug-testing and other issues. The DOC admitted it had no documentation of any work done for them by Jones while she was at Agriculture. Ms. Jones no longer works at the Department of Agriculture.

The report also criticized the DOC's failure to report the value of state housing benefits as employees' income, as mandated by federal regulation and state statute. It also mentioned negatively the DOC's failure to seek reimbursement of costs of incarceration from prisoners as authorized by state statute while noting that the DOC continues to be overcrowded, housing an average of 45,455 prisoners in a system with a design capacity of 34,987. The DOC noted that the prisoner population had inexplicably dropped to 43,200 since the audit.

The audit also criticized the use of more than $2.6 million allotted to Lincoln Correctional Center to pay for food costs at Logan Correctional Center and Concordia Training Academy. This "distorts operating statistics and circumvents the appropriation control of the legislature" according to the auditors.

Finally, the report noted that a former timekeeper at Taylorville Correctional center was able to boost her pay by in excess of $1,800 by having inappropriate access to her pay records. The money was recovered.


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