89.1 WEMU

Michigan Prison Workers Neglected To Record Prisoner Transfers

Mar 1, 2016

Prison Cell Block
Credit Wikipedia Media Commons / wikipedia.org

A new audit says Michigan corrections workers failed to document the time they spent transporting prisoners. 


Michigan corrections workers did not properly document prisoner transfers between October 2013 and September of last year.  That’s according to a new report from the Michigan Auditor General’s office.  It says workers failed to document key information such as prisoner counts, departure times, and reasons for the transports.  It says that made it difficult for the department to monitor the transports.

The Michigan Department of Corrections agreed with the audit’s findings and says it has already fixed the problem.  “(The Auditor General’s office) identified which deficiencies they had found very early on in the audit process.  And we agreed with what they had found and had brought to us, and we fixed them right away,” said MDOC spokesperson Chris Gautz.

Although the department could not account for the workers and prisoners when referring back to time logs, Gautz says there’s no doubt workers and inmates were where they needed to be at all times.  “They were doing what they were supposed to be doing.  But what they weren’t doing was noting every instance and every minute of their day,” he said.  “We keep our staff busy and now we’ll have a better policy in place of noting how busy they are.”

Gautz says there was never an issue of public safety.  He said he is aware of only one prisoner escape under the department’s watch during the audit period.  That was a high-profile case involving a man who escaped from an Ionia prison on Super Bowl Sunday in February 2014.  The man was captured a day later.  That case did not involve any prisoner transportation.

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— Jake Neher is the State Capitol Reporter for the Michigan Public Radio network.  Contact WEMU News at 734.487.3363 or email us at studio@wemu.org