ARDMORE, Okla. (KTEN) — Carter County Sheriff Chris Bryant has decided to remove all softbound books — including bibles — from inmate's cells at the county jail.

Bryant said inmates using the books to damage around 50 cell doors, vandalism that cost taxpayers more than $20,000 to repair.

"It's not just the door hinges ... it's the locking mechanisms that they try to shim so the doors won't latch shut, and they try to put stuff in that so that way the doors don't lock properly," the sheriff said.

Bryant noted that inmates are still permitted to request paper copies of scripture and to have visits from pastors.

"I want people to understand that we're doing everything we can, the best we can," he said. "We're trying to figure out the best measures do that."

According to Oklahoma statute, the keeper of each jail facility shall provide a copy of the Bible or New Testament to each prisoner who requests it.

"I have to take measures and save the taxpayers money," Bryant said. "When they are using books and the bibles to create damage to the facilities, then I have to remove that."