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Burned records and massage chairs: Audit reveals major misspending by previous MDOC administration

MDOC: 13 inmates dead over a month’s time
MDOC: 13 inmates dead over a month’s time(source: WMC Action News 5)
Updated: Dec. 17, 2020 at 12:01 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - An audit completed this week shows a number of monetary violations done by the former administration overseeing Mississippi Department of Corrections.

State Auditor Shad White was requested to do the audit of MDOC by current leadership after Burl Cain took over as commissioner in May.

White says the uncovered misspending led to significant losses for taxpayers. The violations all took place from July 1, 2017, through December 31, 2019. They include:

  • Burned or destroyed accounting records
  • Illegal “comp time” buyouts for agency leaders
  • Improper travel reimbursements to the former MDOC commissioner and to a member of the State Parole Board
  • Massage chairs, rugs, art, Himalayan salt lamps, CDs and other items for meditation rooms
  • Thousands spent to upgrade MDOC’s executive suite

“I want to thank the current staff of MDOC,” White said. “They brought many of these issues to us. Without them, it would have been difficult, if not impossible, to uncover some of the misspending here. It is encouraging to see their proactive approach to fixing the problems.”

Auditors also found issues with the state’s restitution centers. They say incarcerated people were sometimes held there while they worked to pay back money they owed from court judgments, and the inmates were not told when they’d worked enough to repay the debt.

“This audit shows how a pervasive lack of spending controls can have devastating effects on real people. I’m appalled at what this audit showed. The state must fix this, and now,” said White.

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