The staffing gaps at our prisons are scary. The maximum-security state pen in McAlester, authorized to have 521 workers but funded for 363, is 50 shy of that total. The minimum-security prison at Fort Supply has 54 officers to monitor more than 1,000 inmates. The medium-security prison in Hominy has 17 fewer guards than it needs, and they all work 60-hour weeks.
The DOC is seeking $12.2 million more from the Legislature in order to fund 5 percent pay raises. Republicans control the Legislature and so they will of course be tugged at by many other constituencies asking for more money. But they need to remember Hickman's ominous warning. The DOC request merits serious consideration.