The Missouri Department of Corrections has received its new quarterly allowance of $10 million to pay to counties for jailing offenders who end up going to state prison. The department will send the reimbursements over the next week or so, until the money runs out. The refunds will be made in the order in which the requests were received.
The agency has dropped about six months behind in county jail payments. Spokesperson Karen Pojmann says prior to November 2016, the state lacked appropriate review of its jail refund process, leading to uncertainty in how a $19 million deficit accumulated.
Republican Governor Eric Greitens was sworn into office in January. He replaced the term-limited Jay Nixon, a Democrat.
In a letter last month to counties, the department said current funding levels and reimbursement schedules combined with a pre-existing backlog of approved invoices have led to a slowdown in paying newly approved invoices. Errors and missing documentation also delay the auditing and payment processes.
Pojmann said during the department verification process, employees discovered about $6 million in differences between what counties requested and what the state actually paid them.
To try and avoid mistakes, Pojmann said the department now checks on prisoner records, including their conviction date and trial outcome. It also reviews the calculations submitted by counties and verifies if any duplicate forms have been submitted. Counties must also use an online payment form with further details.