New program for Oklahoma prisons

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has established the Community Supervision Program (CSP), part of major departmental efforts to alleviate systemwide overcrowding.

ODOC officials unveiled CSP during the Board of Corrections meeting at the Cimarron Correctional Facility.

A selection of nonviolent, minimum-security offenders within 18 months of completing their sentences will be admitted into the strict, outside-prison-walls supervision program. Ineligible inmates are those with violent crime convictions, 85 percent offenses, sex offenses, domestic violence offenses, drug-trafficking, consecutive sentences, pending felony cases or active protective orders. Other exclusions also apply.

The program began Oct. 1 with ODOC staff examining inmates’ backgrounds for eligibility. Probation and Parole staff will monitor participating offenders, who will be required to meet with their officers at least twice a month, and placed on a GPS monitoring period.

“We have been forced to make this decision because our prisons are overpopulated, and no legislation has made the necessary changes to Oklahoma’s justice system,” said Joe M. Allbaugh, ODOC director.

“We need our most basic state government functions funded. Until that happens, ODOC has to find other ways allowed under statute to manage this dire situation.”

ODOC has a record 63,171 individuals in its care, with 26,871 incarcerated and 34,877 under supervision outside prison walls. State facilities were at 109 percent capacity, and more than 1,600 temporary beds must be used to house inmates. With a nearly half-billion-dollar budget, ODOC must pay over $110 million for contracted beds – including private prisons, jails, and halfway houses – to house inmates.

“CSP is a step in the right direction with a common-sense approach to getting inmates who don’t belong in prison out of our facilities,” Allbaugh said. “It’s a drop in the bucket. We will continue to act in the best interests of public safety, our staff and offenders while ensuring efficient use of public resources.”