The Norman Transcript

Editorials

January 3, 2013

Lawsuit may help raisecounty jail reimbursement

NORMAN — County commissioners and Oklahoma sheriffs have been complaining for years about the reimbursement they receive for holding state prisoners. Now, a county in southeastern Oklahoma, is asking a state court to decide on the costs.

An overloaded state prison system backs up sentenced prisoners into county jails. Cleveland County’s new detention center has dozens of inmates that are awaiting transport to available beds in the state prison system. It’s the same story in county jails statewide. Many counties blame the state for overcrowding that forced them to build new, larger jails.

An Oklahoma City newspaper reports about 1,700 prisoners are taking up space in county jails, costing the state about $20 million a year. Counties receive about $30 per day reimbursement. Cities pay Cleveland County $45 per day.

The Bryan County commissioners’ lawsuit alleges it costs more than the state’s reimbursement. Other counties pay them $40 per day to house their prisoners. The rate was set in 2007.

The suit also challenges the use of ad valorem taxes (property taxes) to pay state bills. That has been ruled illegal by the Supreme Court, according to the lawsuit.

State officials have been reluctant to build any new prisons and have contracted out many inmates to private facilities.

But the problem is lengthy sentences, mandated timelines and more inmates are coming into the system than are leaving, making little space in state jails.

For local news and more, subscribe to The Norman Transcript Smart Edition, or our print edition.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Editorials
  • Marijuana a gateway for new OK voters

    A poll this past year showed significant Oklahoma support for legalizing the use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. The poll showed that more than 71 percent of those surveyed thought medical marijuana was appropriate for patients who ...

    July 31, 2014

  • America paying the piper

    Every third American you pass on the street has debts that have been turned over to a collection agency whose 140,000 workers are keeping the phones ringing....

    July 31, 2014

  • State is No. 2 in barbecue

    Americans love the marriage of smoke, fire and meat, but geography plays a part in how strong the passion is. Estately Blog has created a map charting which states are home to the most barbecue enthusiasts. Oklahoma comes in at No. 2 in ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Keep guns off campus

    Some Oklahoma lawmakers just won’t let the issue of allowing handguns on campus to go away. A joint legislative study will take a look at campuses around the nation to see if there is a way to accommodate faculty, staff and students who ...

    July 30, 2014

  • Improving children’s lives

    Social service organizations that have long-term debt for their headquarters and operating needs often spend much of their fundraising efforts meeting those obligations....

    July 29, 2014

  • State, local jobmarkets look up

    A tight labor market is often a big problem for economic development professionals. They need to be able to promise companies that there are willing workers in the community’s labor pool....

    July 26, 2014

  • Be careful out in the heat

    This week’s triple-digit temperatures are contributing to heat-related illnesses. The state health department’s Injury Prevention Service reminds Oklahomans of the symptoms of heat exhaustion and heat stroke....

    July 25, 2014

  • Get smart on crime

    It’s no secret that prison guards have become the frontline mental health case workers in Oklahoma prisons. Accessing mental health services outside of prison is tough but even harder behind the walls....

    July 25, 2014

  • Quite the resilient bunch

    The people of Moore are a resilient bunch. They’ve bounced back from tornadoes before, but the current renaissance may be the quickest yet. FEMA officials said it would take two years to see some sense of normalcy. That’s hardly the case....

    July 24, 2014

  • A fresh start for VA

    All of us have high hopes for the confirmation and success of Veterans Affairs Secretary nominee Robert McDonald. If confirmed — and most believe he’s a shoe-in — McDonald will take over a paralyzed system of health care that is not ...

    July 24, 2014