Environment, Education, Energy: Policy to People


Inmate running a lathe

Why Felony Employment Matters Even if You've Never Been to Prison


Map: Joe Wertz / Source: U.S. Department of Corrections

Click here to explore an interactive map of state incarceration.

More than 25,000 people were incarcerated at state prisons in 2011, data from the Department of Corrections show. Each inmate costs Oklahoma taxpayers about $20,000 per year, and Oklahoma leads most of the country in per capita incarceration.

About 8,000 offenders are released from Oklahoma prisons each year. And employment is one of the best ways to increase the odds that they’ll stay out of prison, corrections officials and and criminologists say.

Inmates receive education from Corrections staffers and jobs training from CareerTech instructors at prison Skills Centers.

Both have suffered from state budget cuts, which have reduced teaching staff, eliminated entire training programs, and resulted in fewer inmates receiving education and job training.

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Inmate running a lathe

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

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