Missouri State Auditor Nicole Galloway released an audit of the Caldwell County government which included a review of operating practices at the Caldwell County Detention Center in Kingston.
The detention center houses inmates for the county, the US Marshall Service, US Immigrations and Customs Enforcement (ICE), and nearby cities and counties that contract with Caldwell County.
The report describes concerns related to the handling of the high volume of cash that comes into the center, and recommends new procedures to increase accountability. Auditor Galloway credited the sheriff for addressing many of the issues immediately upon being notified of them.
“Dealing with large amounts of cash always requires a higher level of scrutiny because the risk for loss or misuse of funds increases when there is no clear paper trail,” Auditor Galloway said. “When we conduct an audit we expect corrective action to be taken. That’s how audits are supposed to work, and that’s what we saw here in Caldwell County.”
Auditors found detention center staff used a complicated process to track and hold any cash inmates had in their possession when they were booked. In most cases the cash is deposited into a kiosk, but the process was overly complicated and varied based on what law enforcement organization brought the inmate to the detention center. Another kiosk is available in the lobby where money can be added to inmate accounts to purchase snacks and personal items from the commissary.
Neither of the kiosks issue receipt slips, and the amount of cash in the kiosks was never compared to amounts recorded in the tracking system. The money was also not deposited timely. It was instead held on site at the detention center for extended periods of time, sometimes more than a month, which poses an additional security risk.
Many of those concerns have been addressed, but additional work is necessary to improve accountability and ensure all money is handled appropriately and in accordance with the law.
The Caldwell County audit report also includes findings related to seized property and electronic data security. A complete copy of the report, which received an overall performance rating of good, is available online here.