For Immediate Release: March 26, 2007
Senator Kenneth Corn
Corn: Independent Corrections Audit is Needed
Sen. Kenneth Corn on Monday
expressed concern with State Treasurer Scott Meacham’s
opposition to an independent audit of the Department of Corrections’
The proposal was included in a budget agreement
approved by lawmakers last week. The audit would cost $1 million
and would be performed by an independent firm contracted by
the Legislative Service Bureau. Corn said that despite Meacham’s
opposition to the proposal, the independent audit and a thorough
study of the Department’s finances are necessary to find
solutions to the agency’s long-term funding problems.
“Having the audit performed independently
takes politics out of the equation,” said Corn, D-Poteau.
“We need to find a long-term solution to the Department’s
funding issues and the audit is a good starting point. We have
to get out of this cycle of under-funding the agency and then
providing them with enough supplemental funding to survive through
Corn said that while Meacham has called the proposal
a waste of taxpayer dollars, he feels the audit is an effort
to bring greater accountability and efficiency to both the appropriations
process and the agency’s operations.
“It’s clearly time for reform in
how we approach corrections funding,” Corn said. “This
is not a waste of taxpayer dollars, it is just the opposite.
This is a short-term expenditure that could lead to long-term
solutions that guarantee taxpayer dollars are being utilized
in the most efficient manner possible.”
In addition to auditing the department’s
finances, Corn said, the study should address a variety of concerns
including how the department utilizes bed space and the cost
of housing prisoners at county facilities.
“We have to look at whether our infrastructure
is viable and how overcrowding is affecting the agency’s
funding needs,” Corn said. “There can be no denying
that the agency is locked in a cycle of inadequate funding with
aging facilities and growing prisoner populations. I don’t
understand why the State Treasurer is not supportive of efforts
to take a closer look at the situation and initiate reforms.”
The Governor has until Wednesday to take action
on the budget proposal, which includes the independent audit
of the Department of Corrections.
For more information contact:
Senator Corn's Office: (405) 521-5576