Philadelphia prison inmates received an average of $344 a week over 18 weeks — totaling $7 million — in unemployment benefits, the Philadelphia Daily News reported Monday.
A program put in place by Gov. Tom Corbett has helped the state curb the problem, by kicking 3,000 inmates off the unemployment doles and saving roughly $18 million, but catching scammers is difficult, even when their tax returns are analyzed.
“It just wasn’t on anybody’s radar,” said Philadelphia Prison System information officer Shawn Dawes.
The $7 million figure is based on statewide averages, according to the Labor and Industry manager of unemployment-compensation research, Kirk Basehore.
Those caught collecting — 1,162 inmates — represent 13 percent of Philly’s 9,000 prisoners. If 13 percent of the 34,500 county prisoners statewide collected, the total take would be $27.7 million per year — for who knows how long, the Daily News reports.
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Jessica Chasmar is a continuous news writer for The Washington Times. Previously, she was part of the start-up team for The Washington Times’ digital aggregation product, Times247. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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