- Associated Press - Thursday, April 27, 2017

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma has hit a record high with more than 62,000 offenders in the state’s department of corrections system.

Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh says the prison system is operating at 109 percent of capacity.

“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 said.

Nearly 34,000 offenders are on parole, probation, in a community supervision program or on GPS monitoring, The Oklahoman (https://bit.ly/2oPS1qx ) reported. More than 26,000 offenders are incarcerated in a state, private prison or halfway house. And another 1,700 offenders are in county jails awaiting transfer to a state facility.

In January, Allbaugh requested $1.6 billion in appropriations from the Oklahoma Legislature, saying nearly $849 million would go toward building two medium security prisons. But the Legislature approved only $484.9 million for the 2017 fiscal year.

“We’re an afterthought. Nobody really thinks about corrections,” Allbaugh said about his department’s aging infrastructure.

The department’s total budget for 2017 with federal funding and revenue from revolving funds and other sources is $612 million.

Oklahoma voters passed two state questions that turned some nonviolent felonies into misdemeanors and redirected funding toward alternatives to incarceration for some offenders in November. Several criminal justice reform measures such as reducing mandatory minimum sentences are still alive in the current legislative session

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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