McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

March 3, 2013

Funding plan unclear for backlogged Okla. jails

Dan Holtmeyer
Associated Press

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma lawmakers have yet to respond to a request from the Department of Corrections for additional funding, leaving the DOC worried that the day may come when it cannot accept any more inmates.

Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie says state prisons are near capacity and the backlog of inmates waiting in county jails has only grown since January when the funding request was made.

Department Director Justin Jones told legislators he needed $6 million immediately or the state wouldn’t be able to take any more county jail inmates. Some counties, including Oklahoma County, are also at their capacity for inmates.

Gov. Mary Fallin has not proposed supplemental funding for the department. She has suggested a $1 million annual budget increase for the DOC — which asked for a $60 million increase.