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Controversial revolving funds identified

by Randy Ellis Modified: April 23, 2013 at 10:52 pm •  Published: April 23, 2013
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Follow the money

Corrections Department funds

The three Corrections Department revolving accounts undergoing scrutiny contained about $13.5 million, $3.5 million and $4.9 million, respectively, as of March 29.

• The largest fund, Fund 200, receives revenues from such sources as payments from offenders on work release who must give the state portions of their salaries, probation and parole fees and medical co-pays from inmates. For the most part, the Corrections Department is not restricted in how it can use those funds, said Justin Jones, director of the Department of Corrections.

• The fund containing $3.5 million, identified as Fund 205, derives most of its revenue from sales by prison canteens and a portion of the telephone revenues from inmate calls. That money is designated for support of the canteen system and the offender banking system as well as other offender and staff needs, Jones said. While restricted, permitted purposes are broad enough that revenues sometimes have been used for offender medical services and other general needs, he said.

• The third fund, Fund 280, is used to support prison industries and agri-services programs that provide goods and services for sale to nonprofit industries and state agencies, he said. Proceeds from sales go back into the account. Enough money must be kept in the account to pay for labor and materials, but special permission sometimes has been obtained from the Legislature in the past to tap excess profits, Jones said.