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State finds bookkeeping error at jail
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The Tennessee Comptroller’s office has issued a report against Warren County Jail, saying it has overbilled the state for keeping felons.
In response, Sheriff Jackie Matheny said it was a bookkeeping issue and the problem has been rectified. Matheny says the state will get repaid for the money that was overpaid to Warren County.
The issue, according to a Comptroller of the Treasury audit, was that Warren County Jail overestimated the time it had held state felons by 70 hours.
“The net effect of these adjustments resulted in an overpayment of $2,450 to Warren County,” said director James R. Arnette in advising the sheriff of the issue.
Arnette went on to say the 70 hours was figured on a test group of about 25 inmates, thereby suggesting the overestimation could be even higher if every felon being held at Warren County Jail was part of its study. The director suggested the jail better assess the number of felon days before reporting them to the state, and that jail officials also make sure each inmate file includes the judge’s order.
Sheriff Matheny said the issue was caused by a change in the way the state assesses felon days.
“We were doing it as we always had and didn’t realize they had changed it,” Matheny said. “There was nothing intentional.”
Matheny said jail officials are taking the state’s recommendation and re-doing the way they figure felon time. In the meantime, Matheny said the state will recoup the overpayment by adjusting down the amount to pay Warren County for its holding of felons in the coming months.
Matheny said the number of felons being held at Warren County Jail is climbing by the day as he has been notified by the state that no more felons will be accepted for about eight months due to a backlog. The state begins paying the county a set amount for holding felons beginning the day the paperwork on their conviction is complete.