The Norman Transcript


January 5, 2014

Uncertain future for state prisons



Jones, a longtime Corrections Department director, resigned last year — without influence from Fallin, Mullins said. Jones said his interactions with Fallin’s office on JRI were “capricious, confusing and lacked consistency.”

“I don’t know what the motivation (was) for the weakening of Justice Reinvestment,” Jones said. “It was obvious to me the governor’s general counsel’s office wanted to control every aspect of the formation and the application of the Justice Reinvestment process to include weakening the chances for success.”

Records show Jones and Terri White, the state’s Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services commissioner, did not attend meetings with Fallin’s staff, even though they were charged with carrying out the new policy. Frazier went to the meetings “on behalf” of them, the records show.

The governor’s office also initially supported accepting a federal grant for training and coordination, but later decided state funds could be used. Fallin spokesman Alex Weintz said in an email that Fallin didn’t “reject” the federal funds but rather decided “not to pursue” them.

Fallin is expected to have $170 million less in fiscal year 2015 for her executive budget. The governor’s office has not provided any budget documents to show how any Justice Reinvestment Initiative reforms will be paid for in the upcoming fiscal year.

Sean Murphy of The Associated Press and Andrew Knittle of The Oklahoman contributed to this report from Oklahoma City.

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