As Summer Heats Up, Tensions in Oklahoma’s Overcrowded Prisons Increase

Jul 5, 2017

Credit kenny73116 / Wikimedia Commons

Overcrowding in Oklahoma’s prisons is still a major problem as the dog days of summer approach, and state Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh says he’s expecting an uprising or other serious event at some point.

And a recent editorial in The Oklahoman insists Director Allbaugh isn’t being dramatic.

“It's going to happen one way or the other,” Allabaugh said. “You can't keep packing people into facilities that are decrepit and expect everybody to behave.”

Oklahoma’s prison population recently reached 62,000 inmates. And the prisoner population is expected to grow by another 7,200 by 2026, if nothing is done. To make matters worse, some of Oklahoma's prisons are 100 years old. And many prison facilities weren’t intended to house prisoners, but were originally hospitals or schools that have been retrofitted by the DOC.

Allbaugh is hoping for help from state lawmakers. In the meantime, he’s praying for mild summer temperatures.