State prisons stuffed to limits of capacity
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT NewsOK.com
Friday, January 25, 2013
1/25/13 at 3:29 AM
DOC Director Justin Jones:
OKLAHOMA CITY - Oklahoma's prisons, at 99 percent capacity, need an additional $66.7 million in the next fiscal year to help deal with a growing offender population and to attract and retain corrections officers, the agency's director told a legislative panel Thursday.
He says a $12.2 million increase in the department's budget is needed to attract and retain corrections officers. Jones said only 62 percent of the agency's 5,800 authorized corrections officer positions are filled, and prisoners have walked away at William S. Key Correctional Center in Fort Supply, where 44 officers watch about 1,100 inmates.
The state Department of Corrections is close to triple-celling inmates or holding inmates in corridors, which DOC Director Justin Jones vowed Thursday not to do.
The cramming of inmates would result in a lawsuit and possibly the federal courts taking over the prison system, which occurred for more than a decade until a federal judge in 1983 ruled that Oklahoma's prison system was constitutional.
"I don't have any more buildings for space," Jones said. "I don't have any more county jail beds to contract. This is it."
Original Print Headline: State prisons reach limits of capacity
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Dick Conner Correctional Center June 23, 2011. MIKE SIMONS/Tulsa World