Oklahoma sheriffs upset about loss of prisoners

Oklahoman Modified: April 22, 2014 at 10:43 am •  Published: April 22, 2014

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Sheriffs from across the state are gathering at the state Capitol to voice concern about the increasing number of state prisoners who are being removed from county jails and processed into the state prison system.

Many of the sheriffs who packed the Senate gallery on Tuesday count on the $27 daily per-prisoner reimbursement from the state to help fund jail operations, like medical and food contracts.

But the state’s new prison director, Robert Patton, is looking for ways to tighten the budget and believes clearing the backlog of inmates in county jails will help. Patton also is shifting more inmates into vacant beds at state work centers or privately operated halfway houses.

A backlog of inmates awaiting transfer to state prisons has dropped from 1,900 to about 1,000.