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“This is a necessity,” Department of Corrections asking for additional $8.75 million in funding

MCLOUD, Okla. – While there is a lot of talk about lawmakers restoring education funding, another state agency says it is in dire need of additional money.

On Tuesday, the Board of Corrections approved the Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ plan to ask for additional funding from the Legislature.

The approval allows the agency to ask lawmakers for an additional $8.75 million.

“This is a necessity,” said ODOC Director Joe M. Allbaugh, of the agency’s request. “Corrections is a critical function of government that must be properly funded. We cannot risk public safety by balancing the budget on the backs of our employees.”

If awarded, the funds would be in addition to the agency’s $485 million budget. Officials say that appropriation was cut by $3.19 million in February when the Legislature failed to agree on revenue-generating measures for the current fiscal year.

Already, the Department of Corrections has enacted a hiring and purchasing freeze due to the cuts. 

Although its budget has been cut in recent years, the agency is asking for $1.53 billion in state funding for the next fiscal year.