Oklahoma Sheriffs Meet At Capitol To Discuss ODOC Plan - KTEN.com - No One Gets You Closer

Oklahoma Sheriffs Meet At Capitol To Discuss ODOC Plan

ARDMORE, OK -- The new director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections wants to remove all state prisoners from county facilities.  That has some sheriffs worried about their finances.

$27 a day may not seem like much but for some Oklahoma county jails, it's a matter of staying open or closing down

"I think there was a pretty good showing, that it's a big concern of ours," said Carter County Sheriff Milton Anthony.

Sheriff Anthony and dozens of others from across the state met with legislators at the capitol Tuesday to discuss ODOC's proposal to remove prisoners from county jails.

"It will hit us hard," said Anthony. "Then we're going to have to start trying to make up the difference somewhere else."

The sheriff says the jail houses an average of 60 ODOC inmates.

That's roughly $1,600 a day and almost $600,000 per year in funds provided by the state.

The money helps feed and clothe the inmates in addition to paying wages for detention officers.

"We have to maintain a certain amount of jailers no matter how many we have," said Anthony.

Former sheriff Ken Grace says jails in smaller counties could see difficulty quickly.

"I'd be surprised if they have enough money to continue running the county jail as such for more than a 120 days before they're going to have to start laying off people," said Grace.

Both Anthony and Grace say prisoners would be taken to state facilities, which are already overcrowded.

To create space, the state plans to give early release to non-violent and long-held inmates.

Some people in Carter County believe that's not a safe solution.

"I feel like that would not be a good thing for the local community letting prisoners go before they've served their time," said Tommy Ogden, an Ardmore resident. "I don't think I would like that very much."

Sheriff Anthony says taxpayers could see a rise in county taxes to help keep jails operational if state inmates are taken away from county facilities.