Prison population continues to stymie Oklahoma

Oklahoma’s prison system continues to operate at near capacity levels, according to monthly population data from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections.

The number of people in Oklahoma’s prison system in September is 24,463, including 6,574 housed in private prisons or county jails that have contracts with the Department of Corrections.

State-run facilities are operating at 98 percent capacity, according to the figures released before Friday’s Board of Corrections meeting in Helena. Tight quarters also spill over into county jails. As of Sept. 2, there were 1,175 offenders waiting in a county jail to be transferred to prison, according to the information released by the department.

There are 56,674 people under state supervision. That figure includes people on probation, parole and those at community sentencing centers.

While the population remains high, the agency is adding space in Oklahoma City. Inmate crews are working to finish renovations at the Clara Waters Community Corrections Center on the west service road of Interstate 35 between Hefner and Britton roads. There are about 60 inmates living and working there.

When the work is complete, Clara Waters will have about 80 beds.

The minimum-security facility was nearly destroyed in a May 2003 tornado. The state has spent about $4.3 million to rebuild it.



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