City Controller audits Prison System’s inmate trades program
Why The Controller’s Office Conducted The Audit
In response to a request from the Philadelphia Prison System (PPS) and pursuant to Section 6-400(d) of the Home Rule Charter, the Office of the Controller (Controller’s Office) conducted a performance audit of the PhilaCor program.
PhilaCor is the divisional name for the inmate trades program consisting of ten industry shops, which have evolved through the years and are located throughout the Philadelphia Prison System. The program’s primary purpose is to train inmates so they are equipped with transferable job skills and a work ethic that will help prepare them for reentry into society and employment after their release. Our objectives were to ascertain
whether PhilaCor had designed and implemented control processes and procedures to achieve reliable financial information for both internal and external use, as well as to ensure the efficiency of its operations.
What The Controller’s Office Found
Control processes and procedures to ensure reliable financial information about PhilaCor, as well as both effective and efficient operations need significant improvement. We observed procedures across all of the industries that were poorly designed and implemented.
Although PhilaCor managers appeared to be skilled in their crafts, they lack the financial skills needed to operate a business. Additionally, we observed that PPS management had not provided adequate oversight to ensure that PhilaCor operated effectively.
What The Controller’s Office Recommends
The Controller’s Office has developed a number of recommendations to address the above findings. The primary recommendation is that PPS management should provide guidance in the form of written detailed procedures, adequate training, and oversight of the correctional industries program.