Justin Jones’ plea for help went nowhere with the governor’s office.
Jones, head of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, asked for an additional $66.7 million for the next fiscal year to help deal with prison crowding and to try to boost pay for his workers. Gov. Mary Fallin’s proposed budget includes only a $1 million bump for the DOC, and Fallin didn’t devote even a sentence about corrections in her State of the State speech.
Perhaps that’s because she signed a prison reform bill last year. But there’s been little buy-in from the groups involved in making that plan work.
Fallin’s budget chief suggested that Jones is overstating his needs. Few agency heads ever get all the money they ask for, nor do they expect to. But there’s no overstating the fact that our prisons are bumping up against capacity and will continue to do so, creating a dangerous situation for workers and inmates.