Louisiana paid millions in unemployment benefits to state prisoners during the pandemic who were likely not eligible to receive the payments.

You might want to sit down or hold onto something sturdy before I tell you how much money Louisiana has sent to prisoners. According to the Louisiana Legislative Auditor, the state has paid out over $6.2 million in unemployment benefits to 1,195 inmates. I would image a lot of lockers around the state are overflowing with honey buns, chips, sodas, and ramen noodle soups. I would even bet there are tons of seven-day-a-week swoles happening in pods all across the Bayou State.

A fter learning of the oversight, the Louisiana Workforce Commission said they are working to resolve the issue of why the process for checking incarceration data was not working properly.

Louisiana Workforce Commission Secretary, Ava Cates, said the agency uses a program called Apriss, which communicates with over 2,000 jails and prison facilities. She went on to say they do a weekly check to match individuals who are set to receive unemployment benefits to the records of incarcerated inmates from the national database.

Cates had this to say in a press release:

My administration remains committed to aggressively identifying and investigating criminals who target the important economic safety net that is our unemployment trust fund. 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.

Inmates aren't the only ones in the state that received unemployment benefits they didn't qualify for. The Louisiana Workforce Commission paid out over $405 million to state residents who were ineligible last year.

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