Officials Say DOC Psychologist Shortage Caused By Low Salaries
The Department of Corrections said it desperately needs more psychologists.
According to the DOC, right now they only have nine psychologists on staff, but they need 22.
Those nine psychologists are responsible for evaluating more than 26,000 inmates, seeing what mental issues they've had before or currently have, and most importantly, deciding on a treatment regiment. These treatments help inmates improve their quality of life inside of the prison, and according to the DOC help them even more when they finally get back on the outside.
"For a lot of those individuals, their mental health issues are all wrapped up in why they are in prison, and the more resources that we can provide, the less likely these individuals are going to come back," said Matt Elliott from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.
The Department of Corrections said their biggest hurdle to hire more psychologists is low salaries. They said they plan to work with the board of corrections and eventually state lawmakers to find a way to pay psychologists more.