A clunky computerized data system that maintained information on inmates in New Jersey’s county jails was largely responsible for $23.6 million in unemployment benefits, Medicaid coverage, food stamps, and cash assistance received by those behind bars, state Comptroller A. Matthew Boxer said Wednesday.

In most of the cases, the benefits were improperly paid. The inmates – 20,000 in all – were not qualified for them since they were receiving room, board, and medical care while in prison, Boxer said.

“The data was there, but no one was using it,” Boxer said Wednesday, hours after his office released a 28-page audit on the payments. “The data hadn’t been massaged in a way that was usable.”