The Louisiana Department of Corrections is not properly tracking inmate locations and release dates, in part because it uses “antiquated” data management software.

That is one of the findings of a recent report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. Among other findings:

The Louisiana Department of Corrections is not properly tracking inmate locations and release dates, in part because it uses “antiquated” data management software.
That is one of the findings of a recent report from the Louisiana Legislative Auditor. Among other findings:

•    The department may lose track of inmates for weeks at a time, especially if they’re housed as state inmates in parish jails.
•    Data about individual inmates often is missing, incomplete or wrong.
•    Department staff sometimes calculate inmate release dates differently.

 

“Successful reform is dependent on having accurate and complete information on Louisiana’s offender population,” the audit report says. “DOC does not have adequate policies and procedures to manage offenders.”
 

The audit report, released in October, predated the Nov. 1 implementation of the Justice Reinvestment Act, a sweeping criminal justice reform that aims to reduce the prison population by at least 10 percent and save more than $262 million in the next decade.
 

The reform, which the legislature enacted with bipartisan support, touches sentencing, early release and eligibility for probation and parole, among other things. But it has drawn opposition from sheriffs, including Caddo Parish Sheriff Steve Prator, and from state Attorney General Jeff Landry.
 

The Department of Corrections acknowledged many of the problems and promised solutions.
Among the steps it is taking: The department has hired a contractor to help determine whether a $3.6 million data management software, purchased in 2015 and abandoned the same year, can be salvaged, with an answer expected by the end of the year.

 

The legislature and governor enacted the state reforms in June, giving the Corrections Department the task of re-calculating inmate release dates and selecting offenders eligible for earlier release.