Legislative auditors provide independent examinations of agency programs and budgets at the request of the Legislative Audit Committee. On Thursday January 25, 2018, Brian Dean from the Legislative Auditor’s office presented A Performance Audit of the Division of Juvenile Justice Services (JJS) to the Legislative Audit Committee. The committee referred the audit for further review to the Executive Offices and Criminal Justice Appropriations Subcommittee. The subcommittee discussed the audit extensively on January 26th, January 30th and February 1st.
Auditors highlighted that over the last six years, JJS’s operating costs have continued to increase, despite the number of juveniles in custody reducing over the same time period. The audit read that “From fiscal years 2012 to 2017, the number of juveniles served decreased 35 percent while actual expenditures from 2012 to 2017 increased by three percent.” As a result, operation expenditures went up $13.8 million.
Department of Human Services Executive Director Ann Silverberg Williamson and JJS Division Director Susan Burke said they agree with the auditor’s recommendations to change their business practices and how they calculate their budget. Legislative fiscal analysts recommended a reduction of 50 JJS FTEs or $3,750,000 from their FY18 budget. The committee unanimously supported a motion to reduce $14 million of the JJS’ ongoing budget in the subcommittee’s base budget to continue the discussion of the JJS audit.
At the February 1, 2018 meeting before the subcommittee, JJS administrators presented their plan to provide legislators accurate information about their programs and their assurance to improve communications with private providers.
UPEA will continue to track this issue and its possible implications for JJS staff.