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OKLAHOMA CITY – As lawmakers are dealing with a nearly $900 million budget shortfall, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is bracing for cuts.

On Monday, DOC Director Joe Allbaugh instituted a purchasing freeze in an effort to save the agency money.

The freeze excludes items deemed critical day-to-day operations at facilities including food, medical supplies, healthcare treatment and most safety equipment.

Officials say the purchasing freeze could result in further delays in maintenance, repairs and other core services.

Allbaugh says the agency was ordered to find $2.96 million that could be cut by the end of the fiscal year. At this point, the total cost savings from the purchasing freeze are unknown.

“As we continue to make difficult choices as an agency, we are exploring every avenue to fill this budget hole,” Allbaugh said. “We are running out of areas to cut from without jeopardizing the safety and security of the public and those within our facilities. With the purchasing freeze in place, we will keep safety at a premium while not balancing the budget on the backs of our employees.”