Prison Law Blog

Sara Mayeux

Oklahoma! Where… A Lot of People Are in Prison

with 2 comments

If you think California is the only state that fills its prison rec rooms with bunk beds, you haven’t visited Oklahoma:

“I remember when we put in those bunks and were quoted as saying it would be temporary,” Justin Jones, Oklahoma Department of Corrections director, said. “Here we are in 2010, and they are still there, except now they are stacked two high. In the Department of Corrections, temporary is at least 15 years.”

Granted, at “just” 99% of capacity, Oklahoma’s prisons aren’t nearly as overcrowded as California’s. But 99% is far from ideal — prison administrators say that you never want to be that close to full, so you have flexibility to move people around safely and admit newly sentenced offenders sent to you by the courts. (I once heard the job of running a prison compared to running a hotel where you can’t ever hang up a “no vacancy” sign.)

And unlike California, which actually has average per capita incarceration rates for the U.S., Oklahoma leads the nation in locking up women, and also has one of the highest rates of locking up men. Now, with the prison system sucking hundreds of millions of dollars out of the state budget each year, lawmakers and citizens in the Sooner State are pondering alternatives:

A recent Tulsa World survey also showed strong public support for finding alternatives to incarceration for many nonviolent female offenders and for doing more to help the children they leave behind.

Sen. Brian Bingman, the new Senate president pro tem, said he supports “anything that we can do to keep nonviolent criminals out of prisons.”

Bingman, R-Sapulpa, also said he wants to learn more about the governor’s role in the parole process before deciding whether that requirement should continue.

Gov.-elect Mary Fallin said she would consider legislation removing the governor from the parole process for nonviolent offenders, adding that for heinous crimes, the governor would have to remain involved.

Fallin also has said that expanding drug and mental health courts would help relieve prison congestion.

h/t: Sentencing Law & Policy


Written by sara

December 7, 2010 at 11:00 am

2 Responses

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  1. The putting people through the courts as into prison
    but provide employment for many. The Court officials
    lawyers / judges / police / social workers /those in
    the probation services / prison wardens / etc / etc.

    The number heading to a prison be paramount upheld
    keeping the many in employment. If crime drops its
    a problem for the many where be dependent that the crime remain at a higher level /thus stay employed.

    The reality if you took all the money used taking people through the courts as keep them in prisons
    then such money could be used solving problems in which resulted in people firstly being imprisoned.

    There being a similar problem with doctors as the therapists. It not in the interest of doctors the therapist to cure patients /they would simply put
    themselves out of employment. Such a similar case
    with the drug companies in making yearly turnover
    of $BIllions /in pushing drugs that being totally
    worthless/ such proves not so worthless / to them.

    Thus doctors as drug companies work hand in hand
    making as giving worthless drugs. Supplying them
    while joe the plumber public but continue paying
    the billS. / BillS as growing in $billions daily.

    william wallace

    December 7, 2010 at 12:41 pm

  2. Never work for the OKDOC, it will be the worst decision you ever made. I can give you peoples names who will tell you why.


    April 8, 2011 at 6:11 pm

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