Oklahoma Department of Corrections

This Week in Oklahoma Politics, KOSU's Michael Cross talks with Republican Political Consultant Neva Hill and ACLU Oklahoma Executive Director Ryan Kiesel about the dire situation at the Department of Corrections according to Director Joe Allbaugh, the state faces a lawsuit by car dealers over a tax increase on the sale of new motor vehicles as well as a suit by Republican candidate for Governor Gary Richardson over other issues in the budget passed last month by lawmakers.

Flickr / Wesley Fryer

A new ruling against the Federal Communications Commission is estimated to save the Oklahoma Department of Corrections $1.2 million dollars per year.

The case was decided Tuesday in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter challenged the FCC’s ability to mandate rates for inmate phone calls within the state.

Removing that mandate means Oklahoma prisons and jails will be able charge more per phone call to cover the costs of monitoring inmate phone calls.

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections says the agency is imposing a hiring freeze to help cut costs as a result of a state revenue failure.

Director Joe Allbaugh said Thursday that the hiring freeze is the first of many possible changes in order to cut spending by about $3 million by the June 30 end of the state's fiscal year.

Allbaugh says there are 348 vacant positions that will go unfilled during the freeze. He says the freeze does not include correctional officers, probation and parole officers, medical professionals and food service workers.

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections says one of its biggest challenges is recruiting and retaining employees.

During an interim study Wednesday, Prison Director Joe Allbaugh told lawmakers turnover for the agency is roughly 28 percent. Correctional officers in particular, Allbaugh said, are even harder to retain. Turnover for those positions is approaching 40 percent.

He blamed the high-stress nature of the job combined with low-pay and long hours and said many cadets have a false idea of what being a prison officer entails.  

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections begins moving inmates Tuesday to a newly leased private facility in far western Oklahoma, where state employees will run the prison. The agreement between the state and Corrections Corporation of America is a first in Oklahoma’s prison system.

Headlines for Monday, December 15, 2014:

  • Policy changes at the Department of Corrections result in the early release of hundreds of violent criminals and sex offenders. (Oklahoma Watch)

  • The architects who built the Devon Tower want to build a new 27-story building in downtown. (NewsOK)

  • A bill under consideration this spring allows lawmakers to carry guns anywhere including college campuses and the State Capitol. (Tulsa World)

The Evolution Of Electronic Monitoring Devices

May 24, 2014

Nearly 50 years since it was first designed by social psychology students at Harvard, the electronic monitoring device has become a significant part of the criminal justice system. More popularly associated with law-breaking celebrities like Paris Hilton or Martha Stewart, the electronic ankle bracelet has been used to track hundreds of thousands of sex offenders, DUI offenders, people free on bail and others.

But its current use is not quite what its inventors had in mind.