The Department of Audits & Accounts investigated how Corrections spends its $39 million maintenance budget when two-thirds of the work is done by inmates in a study requested by the legislative appropriations committees. Its 28-page report shows that many of the 29 state prisons use outdated software, inconsistent work-order classifications, and some prisons don’t capture necessary information.
The lack of information makes it difficult for Corrections officials to make decisions about equipment replacement or the effectiveness of workers.
Corrections didn’t deny things could work better.
“As you correctly pointed out, our (monthly maintenance reports) clearly have room for improvement in both accuracy and the types of maintenance data collected at the agency-level, but to our knowledge we are the only department to attempt this level of analysis,” Corrections wrote in response to the auditors’ report.
In reviewing the spending on maintenance, the auditors conceded that comparisons are more difficult because different security levels complicate costs. The average cost is $2.20 per square foot in 2010-11.
The auditors expressed surprise that the age of the prisons didn’t correlate to their costs. While the average prison is 23 years old, some older facilities were cheaper to operate.