OKLAHOMA CITY - 106 inmates have been relocated from a halfway home after claims of the company operating it had jeopardized the safety and security of those housed there.
Joe Allbaugh, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, confirmed Monday they have ended a contract with Catalyst Behavioral Services to operate their Oklahoma City halfway home. The company oversaw the Ivanhoe and Cameo locations at 415 N.W. 8th Street. According to Allbaugh, the decision was long in the making after a multitude of mistakes made over several years.
"Halfway houses are a tough business to be in," Allbaugh said. "The department has been for years at wit’s end on corralling our halfway houses. We’re not given enough money to run halfway houses ourselves."
DOC officials said the cancelled contract was due to the halfway house not conducting counts properly, inmates being away from the facility without accountability and lack of staff training verification.
We're told inmate Justin Sullivan left the facility with another inmate identified as Carlton Franklin on November 11 but it wasn't until Ardmore police found Sullivan and a woman's charred remains in a burned vehicle when he was noticed missing. Police are currently investing their deaths as homicides.
"Enough is enough. Not now, not any longer and not on my watch," Allbaugh said. "If we’re failing here, we’re not sending them [inmates] a very good message that they’ll be successful once they do return to society."
With the exception of certain inmates, most of the 106 will remain in halfway homes within the Oklahoma City area. Between nine and 12 inmates will be transferred to the Bill Johnson Correctional Facility in Alva.
The purpose of the homes is to help inmates transition from jail before they re-enter communities, according to Region III director Greg Williams.
"A lot of these guys work in the community and have full-time jobs, and they sleep here at night. During the daytime, they’re out working," Williams said.
Allbaugh said the decision announced Monday should serve as a "wake up call" to the other nine halfway houses.
"We are failing at re-entry, and this is the first step to instill more accountability in our halfway house system as these men and women return to society," he said.
DOC officials add this decision will not affect their contract with Catalyst's operation of a halfway home in Enid.
News 4 reached out to Catalyst Behavioral Services multiple times Monday. Our requests for a comment were not immediately returned.