Wisconsin DOC Audit Reveals Contract Violations by Community Corrections Provider

Source: Derek Gilna, Prison Legal News, January 26, 2017

Genesis Behavioral Services, a private company, contracts with the Wisconsin Department of Corrections (DOC) to provide community corrections services to male offenders at a facility in Kenosha – including certified substance abuse, mental health, domestic violence intervention and cognitive intervention programs. However, a recent audit spurred by complaints from a whistleblower revealed that Genesis routinely violated the terms of its contract. … Beyond the discrepancies in the programs provided to residents by Genesis, the DOC audit cited various maintenance problems, including peeling paint, stained floors, missing tile in a bathroom and a non-working shower. There was also a lack of air conditioning that forced many residents to sleep outside their assigned sleeping areas; they were allowed “to bring their mattresses to the main floor at bedtime so [they] could sleep in the coolest part of the house.” … Interviews with residents found that some had been threatened with strip searches by Genesis staff. The interviews also confirmed that residents were only receiving six to eight hours of programming per day instead of the ten hours required by contract, and that they “were required to sign multiple sign-in sheets at one time for all groups conducted that day or for the week, whether the groups took place or not.” Genesis had no registered nurse at the facility, contrary to what it had stated during the contracting process. Also troubling was the apparent unfamiliarity of staff and residents with Prison Rape Elimination Act (PREA) standards, which was another contractual requirement. … Genesis was given until February 10, 2017 to submit a response to the audit and provide a corrective action plan, and the DOC indicated a follow-up review would be scheduled six months from the date of the final report to ensure remedial steps were taken to address the problems cited in the audit report.