Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People

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Ex-Offender Helps Build Careers by Giving Felons Work


Hiring former inmates isn’t a priority, or an option, for many Oklahoma business owners. But Lonnie Hunt says felons are often better workers than those who’ve never been behind bars. Hunt should know — He’s been to prison. And now he does the hiring. BY LOGAN LAYDEN

Cuts in Inmate Education May Cost Oklahoma Taxpayers Later


About 8,000 people are released from Oklahoma prisons each year, and employment improves an offender’s odds of not returning, criminologists and corrections officials say. State prisons prepare inmates for the workforce through education and jobs skills training, which reduces recidivism and, ultimately, costs to taxpayers. But after years of state budget cuts, prison classrooms have [...]

Visualized: Oklahoma is a Leader in Locking People Up


Oklahoma is a national leader in putting people behind bars, and the state sits near the top of the list in every measure of state prisoners per capita. Explore incarceration in each state with our interactive maps.

Comment from a Former Convict: ‘Give Me a Chance’

Inmate running a lathe

Oklahoma imprisons more people per-capita than almost every other state in the nation. We lead the pack when it comes to incarcerating women, and the state spends a lot of taxpayer money on prisons — more than state cops and courts combined. About 8,000 people leave state prisons every year, and a big part of [...]

Jobs for Felons: Why it Matters, Even if You’ve Never Been Locked Up

An inmate uses a lathe to machine a trailer part at the Skills Center inside McCleod Correctional Center near Atoka, Okla..

Confinement is only part of the mission at Oklahoma prisons. More than 25,000 people were incarcerated at state prisons last year, data from the Department of Corrections show. Most of those people will be released one day. Felons vow to never return. Officers and taxpayers — who are on the hook for $20,000 per inmate every [...]

Locked Up But Looking Ahead: Employment After Prison in Oklahoma


Being tough on crime is expensive. It costs Oklahoma taxpayers about $20,000 a year to pay for the housing of each inmate in the state’s overcrowded prison system, Department of Corrections data show. But being tough on crime can also mean giving criminals a chance at having a life on the outside.

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