OKLAHOMA CITY – Just days after inmates filed a lawsuit regarding unsafe conditions in Oklahoma prisons, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced that it has set another population record.
On Thursday, the Department of Corrections set another population record with 63,009 people in the system. Officials say this is the third significant population development within the agency in less than a year.
“As you’ll remember on December 16, 2016 we reached 61,012 in our system for the first time in our state’s correctional system history and on April 26, 2017 we announced another record of 62,000,” said DOC Director Joe M. Allbaugh. “Now we have more than 63,000 in the system, that’s another milestone for us in just 8 ½-months. What are we to do?”
Officials say they are currently researching ways to address the current population.
“It is unacceptable, though unsurprising, that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections continues to set new records on the number of humans suffering under our current system. Oklahoma’s criminal justice system is an unsustainable, indisputable human rights catastrophe. As more and more Oklahomans are consumed by our political leaders’ insatiable appetite for mass incarceration, we move further from safety and justice and closer to reaching the now inevitable distinction of becoming the world’s largest jailer.
Despite major reform efforts over the last several years, including the adoption of State Questions 780 & 781, it is clear that without immediate, bold reforms our mass incarceration machine will continue its path of destruction.
There has long existed a moral imperative to challenge this system–one that ruins lives, negatively impacts an already precarious budget crisis, and fails its purported purpose of making our communities safer. Today’s news further demonstrates that reforming the system is no longer merely urgent, but now constitutes an undeniable emergency,” a statement from Ryan Kiesel, executive director of ACLU of Oklahoma.