By SCOOTER PARK STATE REPRESENTATIVE DISTRICT 65
A few weeks ago, the Department of Corrections started pulling prisoners out of 10 county jails, including the jails in Cotton, Comanche and Tillman counties. Director Joe Allbaugh said the move would save the department $775,000 by removing 224 contract inmates from county jails and moving them to Oklahoma reformatories. Later, we found that several of these inmates from two of the jails were not moved to state-owned reformatories and instead were moved to private prisons, costing the state more money. The truth is, it is cheaper to house prisoners in the county jail than in private prisons, according to a 2007 performance audit of DOC.
This move was extremely detrimental to the counties and the citizens. Counties get paid for each prisoner they house, and moving these prisoners without warning leaves the counties in a financial bind and has forced a loss of jobs.