Poughkeepsie, NY – Dutchess County Comptroller Robin Lois today issued an audit report of the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Ofﬁce Inmate, Commissary, and Inmate Welfare Bank Accounts for the period March 1, 2018 through December 31, 2020. Periodic audit of these accounts is required under New York State Law 9 CRR-NY 7016.1 and is subject to review by the New York State Commission of Correction.
The Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office operates a commissary through a contracted vendor for the purpose of offering food, health, and personal hygiene items for sale to inmates at the Dutchess County Jail. Items are offered at prices established by the vendor and the Sheriff’s Office, and purchases return a profit. Profits are posted to this account and can be used for the purposes of “inmate welfare and rehabilitation” in accordance with the New York State Commission of Correction.
The audit revealed no misstatements or mishandling of cash or funds. The summary findings include a lack of segregation of duties, outdated policies and procedures, and an accumulation of welfare account funds that should be spent more aggressively for the benefit of current inmates. Staffing changes, including temporary losses from the County’s early retirement incentive in 2020, contributed to the lack of segregation of duties during the audit period. New staffing and procedures were put in place in 2021, after the audit period ended.
“We recommended that these policies and oversight be evaluated on an ongoing basis, and that they continue to be strengthened,” said Dutchess County Comptroller Robin Lois. “We also recommended that the jail administration look for additional acceptable uses or purchases with the inmate welfare account to prevent the accumulation of the funds and spend them for the benefit of the current inmates, as intended under the enabling law.”