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Audit Finds Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association Falling Short of Transparency Requirements

FULL AUDIT HERE

BOSTON, MA — An audit of the Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association (MSA), released today by Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, found that the Association was not meeting statutorily required transparency and reporting requirements. The audit found that MSA did not post to its website required monthly reports on inmate population data, nor share recidivism data with the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) as required.

“Our audit found that while the MSA was set up to help facilitate communication between Sheriffs’ departments, the Association did not have the tools or the policies and procedures in place to do so,” Bump said. “At a time when there is an increased focus on improving our criminal justice system, essential information about the county corrections experience is not being made available. This makes it more difficult for policymakers and the public to make informed decisions.”

The audit found that the MSA lacked formal processes to effectively collect and share data about inmate populations, recidivism and funding with lawmakers and the public. In addition, the audit also found the MSA did not submit timely monthly reports on federal inmate populations to EOPSS or lists of grant amounts received by each sheriff’s department to the Senate and House Committees on Ways and Means. In fiscal year 2014, the lists of grant amounts were sent more than six months late. Bump noted technological and procedural failures as the primary cause of the identified deficiencies.

The audit also reported that MSA’s non-payroll expenditures were properly authorized, documented, recorded and accurate.

Following the audit, MSA obtained funding to purchase a computer system and its own internet protocol address, enabling the Association to resume posting reports of inmate populations by county as required. MSA also reported that it is making improvement to its policies and procedures to ensure it is complying with reporting requirements.

The Massachusetts Sheriffs’ Association was created in 2004 to assist the Commonwealth’s 14 sheriffs’ departments in administrative and operational activities. The MSA promotes, supports and advocates on behalf of sheriffs’ offices and fosters cooperation among the offices.

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan

Tom Duggan is president and publisher of The Valley Patriot Newspaper in North Andover, Massachusetts. He is an author, host of the Paying Attention TV/Radio Program, lectures on media bias and police issues, is a former Lawrence School Committeeman, former political director for Mass. Citizens Alliance, and a 1990 Police Survivor. You can email your comments to valleypatriot@aol.com.

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