Oklahoma prisons are overcrowded and prisoners have to live in enclosed spaces where social distancing is difficult. The conditions are perfect for coronavirus to spread.
State officials want to help hundreds of corrections employees who didn’t get a raise last year. It’s unclear if a bill that could fix the problem will be approved.
State prisons are on lockdown after investigators found signs fights could be started in prisons around the state.
Despite voter support for criminal justice reforms, lawmakers only passed one bill that could affect prison population growth frustrating Department of Corrections employees and agency budgets.
Louisiana and Oklahoma are both trying to reduce their prison populations and lower the costs of their justice systems. Louisiana is seeing good results. Many of Oklahoma’s reforms haven’t gone into effect, but experts predict they’ll have a limited effect.
So far, four of the seven people who escaped minimum security prisons in 2018 ran from Jess Dunn Correctional Center in Taft — a town with no police force.
Corrections chief Q&A: Legislative session, executions, closing and building prisons, Oklahoma nation’s top incarcerator
Director Allbaugh discussed a number of issues including criminal justice reform, the Department of Corrections’ budget, developing guidelines for inert gas executions and unsafe conditions in Oklahoma prisons.
County sheriffs heavily supported a bill they hoped would mean larger reimbursements to county jails that hold state prison inmates and a more transparent reimbursement system. The governor vetoed the bill leaving the debate between county sheriffs and the state unresolved.
The new facility gives the program a designated building, a new kennel and exercise area with obstacles — and a new grooming area and a walking path.
Roughly two out of three parole-eligible inmates opt-out of parole hearings. State officials say this contributes to prison overcrowding and hurts their outcomes after they are released.