Oklahoma Sheriffs Upset About Loss Of Prisoners

Tuesday, April 22nd 2014, 1:22 pm
By: News 9

Sheriffs from across the state are gathering at the state Capitol to voice concern about the increasing number of state prisoners who are being removed from county jails and processed into the state prison system.

The plan by the Department of Corrections is to remove prisoners from county jails. The Department has been keeping prisoners at county jails all over the state and paying them for each inmate.

But the state's new prison director, Robert Patton, is looking for ways to tighten the budget and believes clearing the backlog of inmates in county jails will help. Patton also is shifting more inmates into vacant beds at state work centers or privately operated halfway houses.

A backlog of inmates awaiting transfer to state prisons has dropped from 1,900 to about 1,000.

Many of the sheriffs who packed the Senate gallery on Tuesday count on the $27 daily per-prisoner reimbursement from the state to help fund jail operations, like medical and food contracts. Sheriffs are concerned if the plan moves forward they would have to cut some jobs.

4/16/2014 Related Story: OK Sheriffs Speak Out About DOC's Plans To Move State Inmates

However, some counties - including Tulsa - do support the plan.