Oklahoma City – Today, Oklahoma Department of Corrections (DOC) Director Joe M. Allbaugh sent letters to 10 county jail administrators announcing the cancellation of their contracts with the agency.
The move is expected to save the DOC an estimated $775,000 by the end of the fiscal year. The termination of the contracts comes at a time the department continues to look for ways to close a nearly $3 million budget hole announced at the Feb. 21 Oklahoma Board of Equalization meeting.
The department has stopped filling the county jail beds and today began the process of moving the 224 inmates out of the county jails and into DOC facilities.
Counties included are: Choctaw, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Jefferson, Le Flore, Nowata, Okmulgee, Roger Mills and Tillman.
With the current budget climate, Allbaugh said the move is a necessary step in order to close the budget gap and prepare for future revenue failures.
“We cannot cut anymore,” Allbaugh said. “We have no mobility, we are in a dire situation and it is getting worse. This move will secure some funding. However, we will need to continue to find more areas to save.
“I will continue to work with the board and others at the department to search for areas to save. Furloughs continue to be the last item on the list.”
The DOC had contracts with 12 county jails, which housed inmates at $32 per day. The two remaining county jails under contract are Greer and Marshall Counties. The two jails have 18 inmates combined. The two jails will no longer accept additional inmates.
All inmates being moved are medium and minimum security levels. They will be placed in a facility that has bed space.
Last week, Allbaugh announced a hiring freeze to begin closing the budget gap.