NASSAU, BAHAMAS — An Auditor General’s report has recommended that the Bahamas Department of Correctional Services implement a cap on the amount of money that can be deposited on an inmate’s account.
The report, which was tabled in Parliament last week, outlines key findings into the operations of the facility for the period July 1, 2014 and June 30, 2019
The report noted that at the time of testing, there was no cap or limit of amounts being deposited to the inmate’s accounts.
“If inmates are allowed to have large sums of monies deposited to their account (without a declaration of source of fund), this may leave the entity susceptible to money laundering and other illegal activity,” the report said.
“Management should consider implementing a cap on the amount of cash that can be deposited to and maintained on an inmate’s account.”
The Office of the Auditor-General further outlined several inconsistencies in operations at the prison that were advised to be addressed.
The report noted that there are several revenue streams at the facility where physical cash is collected and turned over to the Private Accounts Accountant. Those revenues include the Staff Cafe and Food Program daily, commissary weekly, Inmate Industries, mechanic shop, and pig farm/piggery-sporadically.
However, there is a lack of segregation of duties in relation to cash procedures and the maintenance of records – which could lead to misallocation of cash and inaccurate accounting.
The report advised that when the VendEngine machine in the commissary is not working a cashier can collect deposits between $2,000 to $12,00 in cash weekly from the inmate’s family and friends and a manual receipt is issued.
However, the auditor general noted that there is a risk that the Private Accounts Accountant might not receive all the funds collected by the cashier. It was recommended that a cash register that automatically produces receipts and runs a tally at the end of the day be utilized.
Similar concerns were expressed about the facility’s food program.
“A food program staff member can collect approximately $700 in cash family from inmates’ family and friends,” the report read.
“As confirmation of cash collected the staff member issues a manual receipt. Additionally, receipts are not tallied daily and submitted to the Private Accounts Accountant with the cash.”
Additionally, the report noted that inventory counts for the commissaries are not performed on a consistent basis and no consolidated inventory listing is maintained.
As a result, the institution is susceptible to inventory theft and does not have accurate data when reordering,
The report suggested that an inventory maintenance software be acquired and inventory counts be performed on a monthly or quarterly basis.
“These changes will provide the entity with more accurate inventory records and efficient and effective reporting,” it said.
As of June 30, 2019, there were 2,558 admitted inmates with facilities capacity being 1,000 persons.
The total number of staff amounts to 734 – of which 715 are uniformed and 19 are non-uniformed.