Republicans are out of touch on the current prison space shortage facing the Department of Corrections—that’s according to State Sen. Kenneth Corn who said Republicans have thwarted Democrat-led efforts to address the issue.
“During the last session as well as last year’s special session, the Democrat controlled Senate called for improvements in the state prison system that would allow for the continued growth of inmates,” said Corn, D-Poteau. “That effort was blocked by Republicans.”
Corn, who is Chairman of the Senate Subcommittee on Public Safety and Judiciary, said the state actually had expanded the number of private prison beds, utilizing additional space at a Lawton facility. However, on Wednesday, the Great Plains private prison in Hinton notified the Department of Corrections that they had 180 days to pick up Oklahoma inmates at the facility.
“The eviction notice served just today by the Great Plains facility shows what happens when we rely only on private prison space,” Corn said. “California basically came in and bought our beds out from under us.”
“Senate Democrats have consistently made public safety a top priority, providing critically needed funding to hire additional guards and to increase pay for those already on the job so that we can retain those employees,” Corn said. “Sen. Glenn Coffee and his Republican members only know how to deal in fear. They do it at the national level, and they do it at the local level. That isn’t protecting the public at all.”