Escapes and misconducts reported in Oklahoma halfway houses are common, but state Corrections Department records reveal the inmates usually only do themselves harm when they decide to break the rules or leave a facility without permission.
Corrections Department records show Oklahoma inmates finishing their sentences in halfway houses are cited most frequently for being under the influence of drugs.
In fiscal years 2010 and 2011, inmates were cited for being under the influence of drugs 635 times, by far the most frequent misconduct handed out to prisoners.
Inmates' failure to comply with the limits placed on their confinement was next, with inmates cited 169 times over the past two fiscal years.
Cellphones got 144 inmates written up in the two years available for comparison, although those incidents dropped dramatically in 2011.
Inmates also were frequently written up for escaping from the state-contracted halfway houses at a relatively high rate, with 107 inmates cited for going missing during the two years in question.
Escapes were a bigger problem in 2009, when 95 inmates turned up missing from halfway houses in a single year, records show.
Other infractions recorded by the Corrections Department include drug possession, failure to submit to drug testing and helping other inmates break halfway house rules.
Assaults, threats or crimes considered sexual in nature were rare compared with the most common infractions recorded.
Numerous inmates also were cited for “monetary misconduct,” or not turning over the money they received while working on the outside.
Corrections Department spokesman Jerry Massie said inmates can work in a variety of jobs.
“Halfway house inmates can work on crews that work for county, city or the state government, but they can also go out and look for jobs in the community,” Massie said.
Massie said the opportunity to earn money while doing time can help prevent an inmate's return to prison once they are released.
“One of the problems they face is getting out without any money,” he said. “It helps them build up a nest egg, if you will, and they have to pay back some of that to the state, which helps defer the cost to the state.”
Records for the recently completed 2012 fiscal year weren't available from the Corrections Department.
Andrew Knittle, Staff Writer