With a senatorial vote on HB 2804 possible any day, The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has starting pulling its inmates out of county prisons across the state.
The legislation, authored by Rep. Scott Biggs (R-Chickasha), allows the presiding district judge in each county to set a daily reimbursement rate for housing inmates if the county and DOC cannot reach an agreement. State law allows the DOC to pay county jails just $27 per day per inmate housed.
This has resulted in a burden for many small counties, prompting the state sheriff's association to protest at the Capitol today.
For Grady County however, this bill addresses a long-time problem.
The Grady County jail survives off of federal contracts and the previous law resulted in short falls when it came to money. Beds at the jail were taken up by DOC inmates and the federal government was unable to sleep their prisoners in the jail causing a $13 deficit per inmate.
Recently, the DOC has removed dozens of inmates from the Grady County jail.
Capt. Larry Crabb with the Grady County Criminal Justice Authority said he was not at liberty to say why the DOC has cut their amount of inmates in the jail from between 70 and 80 to just 12 in a matter of weeks, but he did say it was an unusually high amount.
"We used to have quite a few," Crabb said. "There's always going to be rolling over for those guys. Usually they pull 10 a month."
For about two to three weeks, Crabb said, the DOC has been removing inmates from the jail.
Grady County Sheriff Jim Weir said this bill is causing wonders for the jail.
"I emailed the head of the sheriff's association and told him we would have to sit this one (protest) out because this works out well for us," he said.