Leaders in the Oklahoma House and Senate on Wednesday announced that MGT of America, Inc. has been secured to conduct a comprehensive performance study and audit of the state Department of Corrections. The leaders said that MGT experts would begin meeting with Oklahoma Corrections officials early next week.
MGT will be paid $844,000 to conduct the performance review and transformational study. The comprehensive study was a centerpiece of the final state budget agreement announced in May.
“I’m optimistic this will help us stop a harmful cycle of band-aid supplemental spending on prisons. MGT is clearly the most qualified to conduct this important review. We need the best outside expertise, so that we can look at cost-effective ways of improving DOC operations and better managing future prison populations,” said Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, chair of the House Public Safety and Judiciary Committee. “We need to find better ways to manage the hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the state’s prison system every year. The minimal cost to the state for this performance review is a bargain, a mere fraction of the nearly half a billion dollars taxpayers must spend every year on the corrections budget. This study will help us explore reforms, ensure accountability and establish new ways of thinking about our state’s prison system.”
“By having this audit conducted by an independent firm, we can ensure that political games will be left at the door and use the results as a roadmap to help us finally find a solution to our corrections funding issues,” said Senator Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau, co-chairman of the Senate Appropriations Sub-Committee on Public Safety. “This is not a financial audit. It’s a performance audit that will provide important information about the day-to-day operations of our corrections system. It will tell us if our staffing is adequate, if our current organizational structure is working and it will tell us if there are inefficiencies that we need to address.”
“One of state government’s top priorities is to protect the safety of the public, and DOC is on the front line of this effort. This performance audit is different from a financial audit because it will examine policies, organization, and performance – and then make expert recommendations about what is being done well and what can be improved. This is the first of what should be many future performance audits of state agencies that will aid the Legislature in prioritizing spending and identifying areas of government that can be made more efficient,” stated Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher, co-chair of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The legislative leaders said that MGT was the best firm nationwide to meet the expectations for the performance audit and review.
MGT has conducted performance reviews and assessments on some of the nation’s biggest prison systems, police departments and other public safety entities – including those in Florida; Illinois; Albuquerque, New Mexico; Nashville, Tennessee; and the District of Columbia. MGT uses former corrections administrators and officials from systems throughout the country to conduct its reviews.
“MGT looks forward to helping state leaders and the Senate, House, and Department of Corrections identify innovative reforms and practical solutions that will increase the efficiency of the prison system,” said Kenneth McGinnis, Partner, MGT of America, Inc.
Legislative leaders first began interviewing MGT about the possibility of a DOC performance review this Spring, including Senate Appropriations Committee Co-Chairs Sen. Johnnie Crutchfield, D-Ardmore, and Sen. Mike Johnson, R-Kingfisher; Sen. Kenneth Corn, D-Poteau, chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and the Judiciary; Sen. Jonathan Nichols, R-Norman, Co-Chair of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Public Safety and the Judiciary; Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, and Rep. Chris Benge, R-Tulsa, chair of the House Appropriations and Budget Committee.