Good news, Louisiana!
You're paying dangerous criminals to sit around and not work... Wait, that's not good news!
Louisiana paid out approximately $6.2 million in unemployment insurance to 1,195 people in prison who likely weren't eligible to receive those benefits, according to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor.
The Louisiana Workforce Commission, which administers unemployment benefits, said in its response to the audit that it is working to determine why its process for checking incarceration data is not working properly.
The audit, released Monday, said the LWC performs a weekly match of individuals who receive unemployment benefits to incarceration data from a national database. In her response to the audit, LWC Secretary Ava Cates said the agency uses Appriss, which "interfaces to over 2,000 jails and (Department of Corrections) facilities."
The audit used data from the Louisiana Department of Corrections and found 92 people received only one week of benefits while incarcerated, indicating the LWC's cross-checks identified these individuals and stopped their payments. Another 1,103 who were incarcerated from March through November 2020 received more than one week of benefits, which the audit said showed the data match did not work as intended.
"My administration remains committed to aggressively identifying and investigating criminals who target the important economic safety net that is our unemployment trust fund," Cates said in the response. "We will continue to use every tool within our arsenal to ferret out those who seek to defraud our system, including those who have stolen the identities of the incarcerated and inmates who are principals and co-conspirators to the fraudulent schemes."