Wisconsin prisoners were awarded state benefits, audit finds

A report by the Wisconsin Legislative Audit Bureau indicated that more than $12 million in benefit payments and other charges were made in the 2009 fiscal year – at least $250,000 of which went to prison inmates, according to the Chicago Tribune.

The report found that 59 inmates received unemployment benefits – with almost $220,000 divided among 37 of them – and an additional 33 inmates received food stamps. The investigation is continuing, and the two state agencies that are in charge of benefits distribution are working to identify those who received the payments erroneously and recover the money that was lost.

"It's irritating to me and the taxpayers of this state that money is wrongfully going to inmates and it must be stopped," Senator Robert Cowles (R-La Crosse), co-chair of the Legislature's Audit Committee, told the news source.

Acting on the recommendation of the Audit Bureau, the Department of Workforce Development has now implemented cross-checks of inmates and those who receive unemployment benefits.

According to WTAQ, five out of every six dollars of the $12 million awarded in questionable benefit payments were for unemployment. 

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