La. Department of Corrections spends over $3M on failed tracking system

(Photo Courtesy: WAFB)
(Photo Courtesy: WAFB)

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) – The Louisiana Department of Corrections (DOC) has spent $3.5 million on a computer system that shut down after one month, according to an audit released Monday by the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.

The system was used to track inmates and went online on June 15, 2015, but it was taken down 45 days later because it was not working and the DOC employees were encountering problems that they could not and/or did not know how to fix.

The system was supposed to track inmates as they moved through the DOC, showing when they entered the system, which prison they were currently housed in, and the date of their release.

The audit did not name the vendor who provided the system.

The DOC blamed some of the problems on the fact that several key employees who apparently knew how to use the system were no longer employed there. They also cited software issues.

The state has a department that is supposed to help with those kind of difficulties. Workers from the Office of Technology Services were assigned to help resolve the issues, but the audit found that work was suspended earlier this year due to budget cuts.

Auditors said there is money set aside in next year’s budget for those same workers to resume their efforts and hopefully get the $3.5 million program finally back up and running full time.

The Department of Public Safety and Corrections released the following statement regarding the audit:

“There were no findings against the Department of Public Safety and Corrections in the audit. Throughout the report, the Legislative Auditor recognized the Department for its controls and accountability regarding state property and money, and compliance with state laws.

The Department depended on the expertise of Methods Technology Solutions to design and create a robust offender management system for us. The poorly designed system never worked, and it was unstable. The Department is currently working with the state’s Office of Technology Services to evaluate our options for recourse, up to and including litigation.”

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