If we were able to bring our 480 prisoners back from Oklahoma that would help alleviate their problems.
OKLAHOMA - Capitol Bureau Lawmakers are awaiting the results of a comprehensive audit of the state Corrections Department, which will help guide how they deal with overcrowding in state prisons next legislative session. Rep. Gus Blackwell held an interim study Thursday looking at the state's prison bed shortage and possible solutions. The Criminal Justice Resource Center predicted in May that the prison population will grow by as many as 900 inmates in the next year, while the state's bed-capacity is already stretched to the limit.
Lawmakers sought the independent audit, which is due to be released Dec. 31, to determine what will be the next step. Blackwell said the audit will take politics out of the decision.
"We want to look at what's successful and build on that,” said Blackwell, R-Goodwell.
One option is a 25-year, $309.6 million bond package the Corrections Department is proposing.
The plan would add new and replace old prison beds, for a total addition of 4,329 beds.
Blackwell said he is waiting for the audit's release to determine if the bond package is feasible, but said that adding new beds while also replacing antiquated beds in certain prisons is the right approach.
The department could bring its per diem rate down $5 to $10 a day per inmate if the prisons are updated, Blackwell said.
Another option presented to the House Judiciary and Public Safety subcommittee Thursday was to build a new private prison.