Oklahoma prison system out of beds for female offenders
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Saturday, December 01, 2012
12/01/12 at 8:47 AM
Learn more about the incarceration of women: Read previous stories, find resources and see graphics regarding women in prison.
OKLAHOMA CITY - The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is out of beds for female offenders, DOC Director Justin Jones said Friday.
His comments came following a Board of Corrections discussion of the overall prison system population during a monthly meeting in Vinita.
Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McLoud, Eddie Warrior Correctional Center in Taft and Hillside Community Corrections Center in Oklahoma City are pretty much at capacity, Jones said. All three house female offenders.
"We have fewer females discharging so far this year and we have more coming in," Jones said.
Last year, the agency received 1,198 females and is projecting to receive 1,242 this year, Jones said.
Last year, the agency released 1,162 females, Jones said, adding that it expects to release 1,131 this year.
"The key is we are already full," Jones said. "We had been experiencing a downward trend and all of a sudden we are heading back up. That is the key."
Overall, the system saw a net growth of 763 offenders from October 2011 to October 2012, according to the monthly population update given to the Board of Corrections.
The increase was for 108 females and 655 males, according to the report.
Jones said the increase is the result of offenders required to serve 85 percent of a sentence and enhanced punishments.
"We need all of our state beds and more private prison beds," Jones said.
In addition, 1,681 offenders are in county jails awaiting transportation to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections when beds become available, according to the report.
The agency is currently seeking a nearly $6.4 million supplemental appropriation to get through the current fiscal year. The supplemental is needed partly to fund increased reliance on private prison beds and legislatively mandated pay increases for private prisons and halfway houses.
Jones said the recently passed and implemented Justice Reinvestment Initiative, House Bill 3052, was not expected to eliminate offender growth, but reduce some of it.
"It is going to reduce the net growth increase with lower security beds, not the beds required behind secured perimeters," Jones said.
The measure created intermediate revocation facilities for offenders who committed technical violations of probation and requires supervision for those discharging a felony sentence, among other things.
Total corrections system offender population
Includes state offenders in Department of Corrections facilities, private prisons, county jails and halfway houses.
|Last year population
Source: Department of Corrections
Original Print Headline: Women's prisons out of room
Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465
An inmate walks through a gate opened by Unit Manager Shola Shopeyin at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in McLoud. The Oklahoma Department of Corrections is out of beds for female offenders, DOC officials said Friday. Tulsa World File