OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe M. Allbaugh sent letters to 10 county jail administrators Wednesday 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.
It comes at a desperate time as the department continues to look for ways to close the nearly $3 million budget hole.
The contracts with the county jails began decades ago to deal with overcrowding.
The jails with the contracts were required to provide educational or drug and alcohol programs for the inmates.
They have now stopped filling the county jail beds and began moving the 224 inmates Wednesday 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.
“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.
Combined, they have 18 inmates total and will no longer accept any additional DOC 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.