TRENTON, NJ (CBS) – An audit casts a critical light on how New Jersey corrections officials oversee the operation of 25 halfway houses across the state.

State Comptroller Matthew Boxer found not just problems with overpayments, but there were also inadequate inspections, with many operators getting warning of unannounced visits. And there were few attempts to seek penalties from operators when residents would escape.

“It’s a $64-million program whose success or failure does have important consequences for public safety and so we’re optimistic that the Department of Corrections will get these issues fixed,” Boxer says.

Corrections Department spokeswoman Deirdre Fedkenheuer says most of the issues stem from 2004 contracts renegotiated last year. “We will continue to discuss issues that have not been addressed in the new contracts with both the Comptroller’s office and the halfway house providers,” Fedkenheuer says.

They’re working on the security concerns as well as those checks. Only five of the 25 facilities are in South Jersey, three in Camden, two in Bridgeton.

Reported by David Madden, KYW Newsradio 1060

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