Oklahoma prisons

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Oklahoma now has the highest incarceration rate in the world, reports to The Tulsa World.

According to a new study, Oklahoma recently overtook Louisiana as the state with the highest per capita number of citizens in prison.

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According to the latest numbers for incarceration rates across the U.S., Oklahoma held the second highest per capita incarceration rate among all states.

As KFOR reports, in 2016 Oklahoma incarcerated 673 people per 100,000 residents. That lands the state second behind only Louisiana, which imprisons a staggering 760 per 100,000. By comparison, Texas imprisons 563 per 100,000 and Colorado imprisons only 356. The national average is around 400 per hundred thousand.

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Oklahoma’s prisons have long been overcrowded and underfunded. For example, the state’s three women’s prisons are at 129 percent of capacity.

To make matters worse, there is a shortage of corrections officers in the state.

Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh recently called the state prison system “a sinking ship.”

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The State of Oklahoma imprisons twice as many women as any other state, reports The Atlantic.

A recent documentary made by two filmmakers working on behalf of The Center for Investigative Reporting set out to uncover why Oklahoma has such a staggeringly high incarceration rate for women.

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The State of Oklahoma will not execute any inmates in 2017.

As KOKH reports, this year marks the third straight year that the death chamber has remained quiet in the state.

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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.”

Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

New criminal justice laws in Oklahoma, approved by voters last November, went into effect last week but as Oklahoma Watch reports, the laws are still shrouded in uncertainty.

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The number of incarcerated inmates in Oklahoma has reached 62,000, reports The Norman Transcript.

The state’s prisons are currently at 109% capacity. Back in December the state of Oklahoma hit a new prison population record of 61,000. Now, in only four months, 1,000 inmates have been added to that record.

Ben Fenwick / Oklahoma Watch

Over the next decade, Oklahoma will need three more prisons if the state doesn’t take action to constrain the prison population, which as The Oklahoman reports, is projected to increase by 25 percent over the next 10 years.

That is more than 7,000 additional prisoners.

News on 6

Oklahoma continues to lead the nation in incarceration rates for women, reports News on 6.

As a matter of fact, the state appears to be leaving the competition in the dust. The state imprisoned women at a ten percent higher rate this year over last. And Oklahoma County imprisoned thirty-three percent more women this year than in 2015.

Gov. Mary Fallin has created a Justice Reform Task Force to examine state laws that lead to imprisonment.

Ben Fenwick / Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma’s inmate population is growing far too fast, according to News OK. Since 1980, the state’s prison population grew 14 times faster than the state's adult population. In that period the number of people in Oklahoma prisons increased 485 percent.

The problem was brought into stark relief this month when an inmate at a facility in Stringtown was stabbed to death. The assault occurred in in a day room that ordinarily would be used for leisure. Instead, the room was loaded with 52 bunk beds.