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Chicken-Fried News: Slammers slammed

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Within this state, there is an institution regularly operating at 109 percent capacity. It is planning on opening new locations, but expansion just can’t seem to keep up with demand. In fact, around one in 80 Oklahomans are in one of these facilities right now.

So what is this exclusive club and why is it so popular? Is it the DJ? And, seriously, food there must be amazing!

Unfortunately, this is no nightclub or resort. Oklahoma’s incarceration rate is raising the roof.

The state’s corrections system population now exceeds a record-breaking 62,000, according to a recent NewsOK.com report.

A release by Department of Corrections director Joe Allbaugh shows the total population was around 61,000 at the end of 2016.

“It has taken just four months for an additional 1,000 people to be included in our numbers of incarcerated, supervised and county jail backup,” Allbaugh’s statement reads.

Jeez! Who has been in charge of managing prison sentences in Oklahoma, the staff of United Airlines? Certainly more than a few inmates would take a few hundred dollars in travel credit and a later flight to Milwaukee if it meant getting out of this overcrowded, overbooked mess.

Allbaugh requested $1.64 billion in state budget appropriations earlier this legislative session, and $849 million of that would go toward building two new medium-security prisons to keep up with the state’s burgeoning incarceration rate. The department operated on a budget of $484.9 million this fiscal year.

“We’re an afterthought,” the director told NewsOK.com. “Nobody really thinks about corrections.”

We deep thinkers at Chicken-Fried News know our hoosegows are not meant to pack people into cans like sardines. It is beyond time for the state to consider incarcerating fewer people and/or giving the Department of Corrections the financial support it needs.

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