The Norman Transcript

Local news

August 17, 2013

Oklahoma jails becoming overcrowded as population keeps climbing

NORMAN — The prisoner population at the F. Dewayne Beggs Detention Center reached 500 this week. Of those prisoners, Undersheriff Rhett Burnett reported that about 25 percent are Department of Corrections bound.

“The biggest issue here is I have 123 inmates that DOC won’t come get,” Burnett said. “I’m rapidly losing the ability to segregate inmates for medical, disciplinary and administrative reasons.”

The three pods or main housing units that comprise jail are near maximum capacity, he said. The National Institute of Corrections uses an 80 percent rule — if 85 percent of the beds are full that’s actually overcrowded because at that point jail administrators lose the ability to segregate and separate inmates, Burnett said.

Inmates often need to be separated for various reasons to ensure the smooth operation and oversight of the jail and its population. Problem inmates and inmates with medical issues are examples of some that might need to be moved around.

Burnett said the biggest reason county jails are overcrowded in Oklahoma is because there is overcrowding at the DOC facilities. Because the state prisons don’t have any beds, they can’t take in the inmates in county jails who have already gone through judgment and sentencing and are awaiting transport.

Midweek, Cleveland County was housing 109 prisoners with judgment and sentencing already completed.

“The ones I have J and S’s for I can bill DOC, but they don’t pay enough,” Burnett said.

And the reimbursement doesn’t relieve crowding.

“The budget board and the (county) commissioners have been real helpful, but that’s not the issue,” Burnett said. “No one here in Cleveland County is not part of the solution.”

Burnett said he gets it that DOC is full, but state lawmakers need to take action to remedy the problem soon. He said many other counties are experiencing the same problem with crowding.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local news
  • N7 Sooners come together to serve Native American youth

    Whitney Wofford has faced some tough competition as a part of the Oklahoma tennis team. However, on Wednesday, Wofford may have taken on her biggest and most rewarding competition yet at the Sooners For N7 event at the Oklahoma football ...

    April 10, 2014 3 Photos

  • Chamber Banquet During annual banquet, Chamber of Commerce promotes moving Norman forward

    Amidst the backdrop of music, dancing, dinner and fellowship, business leader Mike Fowler announced that the time for a quality-of-life initiative in Norman has come. As incoming Norman Chamber of Commerce board chairman, Fowler and ...

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Symposium speaker Paul Polik: Commerce can help and bring millions out of poverty

    How to harness the power of commerce to address social and environmental challenges in sustainable ways was the topic of discussion at the University of Oklahoma Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth’s fourth annual Social ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Amber waves turn gray as farms lose younger generation

    OKLAHOMA CITY — Jerry Pfeiffer was thrilled when his son, Kelsey, 25, announced plans to return to the family’s farm in Orlando....

    April 18, 2014

  • Postal retiree luncheon set

    A postal retiree luncheon will be 11:30 a.m. Monday at Golden Corral Buffet and Grill, 123 N. Interstate Drive in Norman. Diners will meet in the lobby. For more information, call Joyce Carle at 872-5157....

    April 18, 2014

  • Flapjack fundraiser set

    The Apple Gold Group, a franchisee of Applebee’s Neighborhood Grill and Bar, will partner with the Global Outreach Team at Go Church to host a Flapjack Fundraiser on April 26. Proceeds raised will be used by team members to purchase ...

    April 18, 2014

  • OU Hornsemble goes to the movies

    The OU Hornsemble will present a concert of music from the cinema at 6 p.m. April 27 in the Paul F. Sharp Concert Hall. Billed as “Movie-Time Music,” the ensemble will present a wide variety of cinematic music from the 1940s to the ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Woman bound over for trial

    A Slaughterville woman facing a manslaughter charge after the death of an 8-year-old child was bound over for trial this week after a preliminary hearing in Cleveland County District Court. Kimberly Dawn Wenthold, 29, was charged in ...

    April 18, 2014

  • MNTC campaign focuses on dangers of texting while driving

    Students enrolled in Moore Norman Technology Center’s Career Exploration Education class are taking a class project that they feel strongly about to an involved level within their community. They are raising awareness among their high ...

    April 18, 2014

  • Fighting to rid world of polio

    A small crutch leaned against a podium inside an Oklahoma Memorial Union room Wednesday evening. It was a prop, retrieved and held aloft by Shawn Arnold as he described his early battle with polio....

    April 18, 2014

Video
Facebook