BATON ROUGE, LA (NBC33) — A closer look at the Office of Juvenile Justice is showing that hundreds of thousands of tax payer dollars are going to private companies, with very little supervision from the OJJ.
Of the almost 60 private providers that the OJJ had on their payroll, only 26 were able to provide the information about just how many kids they were working with. According to the auditor’s office many of the more successful providers were actually cut, also thanks to a lack of funding and oversight.
"When the government enters into contract with providers to provide services then the government takes on the responsibility to ensure that those providers are actually providing the services for which we're paying them for. In this case, we're saying we don't know," explained Legislative auditor Daryl Purpera.
Contractors are paid just under $1 million dollars to help kids who've gotten into trouble to straighten out.
"What they attempt to do is provide services to help the youth do is mold better with their families, work better with people of authority so it can potentially keep them out of the prison system," said Purpera.
Joshua Bolin said he went through some of those programs himself.
"I was a troubled youth, so I went to the boot camp to try to do a little growing up. They really didn't do anything, they didn't kick the people out that needed to be kicked out, they didn't really do what they needed to. I was a number," said Bolin of his experience.
He said, unfortunately, the lack of oversight does not come as a surprise.
“Not (a surprise) at all. The program didn't do that much for me, getting out of the program they didn't keep up with me. They didn't call or keep up with me. They got what they needed and it was done," said Bolin.
The Office of Juvenile Justice has agreed with the auditor’s findings and officials there have promised to attempt to remedy the situation with better monitoring tools.