Audit: Metro Corrections fails to collect $156K in booking fees due to computer, human errors
If inmates come back, they will be forced to pay that money
LOUISVILLE, Ky., (WDRB) -- Metro Corrections failed to collect $156,000 in inmate booking fees last year because of problems with a new computer system and clerical errors, an auditor found.
In the five months after Metro Corrections installed the XJail system last July, a $35 booking fee was erroneously not applied to 27 percent of all incoming inmates, according to the recent city audit.
The audit, which was submitted to Mayor Greg Fischer on April 29, did not discover the exact cause of the error but found that it was likely a combination of systematic and clerical errors.
When the new $1.5 million jail management software system was installed in July, attorneys and judges complained of numerous problems, including keeping some inmates in jail past their assigned release dates.
The system was designed, in part, to give the public easy access to inmates' mug shots and other information online and allow the jail to create customized reports looking at population demographics and better investigate the issue of overcrowding.
At the time, Director Mark Bolton acknowledged moving to the new system for a jail holding 2,000 inmates had caused problems but would be corrected shortly.
The jail requested the the audit to see if booking fees were being properly handled.
The audit confirmed the rough beginning, noting 61 percent of inmates were not charged a booking fee in July but that number decreased rapidly, dropping to 8 percent by November.
“It’s corrected now,” said Metro Corrections Major William Ashby. “We are all systems go.”
In instances where the error was recognized while the inmate was still in jail – about five percent of those booked from July to November - booking fees were retroactively applied, according to the audit.
And Ashby said if inmates who were not properly charged come back to Metro Corrections, they will be forced to pay the old fee.
“They still owe that money to us,” he said.
The jail, like many others in the state, began collecting a booking fee in 2003, at the time charging inmates $25 when they were arrived. The money goes into the jail's general fund.
The audit recommended Metro Corrections develop procedures to guide the staff in processing incoming inmates and understand the new system as well as working to account for any discrepancies between the number of inmates and amount collected on a daily or weekly basis.
Metro Corrections responded that all of the system issues have been corrected and staff had been restrained on the updated processes to ensure that booking fees are charged correctly, according to the audit.
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