The Norman Transcript

Opinion

September 26, 2013

Backing up the system

NORMAN — The number of prisoners being housed inside the F. DeWayne Beggs Detention Center has topped 500. It has more to do with the state prison situation than any kind of crime spree in Cleveland County.

One-fourth of the population in the jail are state prisoners who are awaiting transfer to a state facility. It’s the same at many of the larger county jails throughout the state.

The state Corrections Department is full and growing, and wardens have to wait for beds to be freed up before an inmate is transferred in. It manages the population by backing up its prisoners in county jails.

The counties are reimbursed per diem, but many sheriffs don’t believe the payments cover the true, long-term costs of the facilities.

Cleveland County voters are paying for the jail through a temporary sales tax. They may not have supported the tax if they knew a good portion of the space is used for state inmates.

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