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Fearing Potential Budget Cuts, Oklahoma Department of Corrections Initiates Hiring Freeze

Kate Carlton Greer / Oklahoma Public Media Exchange

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has stopped hiring for the rest of the budget year to prepare for potential funding cuts.

Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh decided to freeze hiring after the state Legislature voted down a series of tax increases known as the Step Up Oklahoma plan, Monday.

Corrections’ hiring freeze is a symptom of larger funding concerns. The agency has asked the state for $1.5 billion for the next fiscal year beginning in July. That’s a more than $1 billion increase for a long list of needs including two new medium security prisons, repairs and filling staff shortages.

Corrections’ hiring freeze does not include prison guards, food service and maintenance staff and people already offered jobs. Agency officials don’t know when the hiring freeze will be lifted.

Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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