Even in light of a possible budget shortfall for the next fiscal year, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections is asking for $1,530,000,000.00 – about one-fourth of the state budget.
That’s a billion dollars more than last year’s budget.
That request includes $813,000,000.00 to build two medium-security prisons. It also includes more money for mental health services, drug and alcohol abuse programs, pay raises and more.
The request, which was unanimously approved by ODOC’s Board of Corrections, includes more than $107 million in repairs to its facilities, and $10 million for across-the-board employee raises.
“This budget represents exactly what our needs are right now,” ODOC Director Joe M. Allbaugh said.
ODOC requested $1.6 billion for similar needs for FY 2018.
A press release states that “criminal justice reform” has not produced any results in lowering the prison population.
The state’s oldest prison, McAlester’s Oklahoma State Penitentiary, was built in 1908. The DOC claims it needs $14 million to include: new sewer, water and gas lines, new air conditioning, road repairs and lighting.
Jackie Brannon Correctional Center, also in McAlester, needs more than $17.2 million in repairs and improvements, including $3.8 million to its water treatment plant to comply with state Department of Environmental Quality standards.
The plan asks for a 5 percent pay raise for all employees. Correctional Officers start at $12.78 an hour and $3,000,000.00 for education and substance abuse programs. The request asks for $1,400,000.00 to hire 30 new case managers. It asks for $5,000,000.00 for new vehicles and $6,700,000.00 for medical expenses.