The state Corrections Department in a cost-savings move will relocate its correctional officer training from Wilburton to the Highway Patrol Training Center in Oklahoma City, legislative leaders said today.
The department also will relocate a separate employee training facility from the College of Continuing Education at the University of Oklahoma to the Oklahoma City training center.
The move is expected to save the state about $600,000 without a reduction in services, officials said.
Staff at the Wilburton and OU facilities will be relocated to fill higher priority corrections positions that are vacant or understaffed, officials said.
"This move will centralize and consolidate training for correctional officers," said Rep. Randy Terrill, R-Moore, who is chairman of the House appropriations subcommittee on public safety and judiciary.
Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, said the move will save money in one of the state's most vital public safety areas.
Sykes, chairman of the Senate appropriations subcommittee on public safety and judiciary, said the move will help both agencies use existing resources "in the most cost-effective way possible while maintaining public safety standards."
Sykes said today's announcement comes a day before Senate Republicans plan to discuss their public safety agenda.
Closing the Wilburton facility is expected to save about $250,000 annually and moving the training center at the College of Continuing Education at OU will save another $350,000 — bringing the total annual savings to about $600,000, they said.
As part of the agreement, inmate labor will be used to provide food, janitorial, maintenance and grounds-keeping services at the Oklahoma City training center. As much as 70 percent of the food products served at the center will come from prison farms.