DOC nixes county contract

Amanda Corbin
News Reporter

Facing a nearly $3 million budget hole, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced Wednesday it is canceling contracts with LeFlore County and nine other jails to house state inmates

DOC Director Joe M. Allbaugh said he sent letters to the county jail administrators on Wednesday announcing the contract cancellations. The other counties include Choctaw, Comanche, Cotton, Craig, Jefferso, Nowata, Okmulgee, Roger Mills and Tillman.

"We're going to lose 48 DOC inmates," said Donnie Edwards, jail administrator for LeFlore County. "It's going to affect the whole county."

Edwards said the cancellation could lead to possible layoffs at the jail and a loss of approximately $40,000 a month in funds.

DOC said the move will save the agency an estimated $775,000 by the end of the fiscal year to fill the budget hole announced in late February at the Oklahoma Board of Equalization meeting.

“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.”

Greer and Marshall counties will remain under contracts and have 18 inmates combined. However, they will no longer accept additional inmates. The DOC formally had contracts with 12 county jails. The jails housed inmates at $32 per day.

The DOC said they have stopped filling county jail beds and on Wednesday began the process of moving 224 inmates out of the county jails and into DOC facilities. Those being moved are medium and minimum security level, and are being placed in facilities with bed space, the DOC said.