Oklahoma Watch
7:00 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Most Oklahoma Prisons Are Over Capacity

With the transfer of state inmates from jails, the Mack Alford Correctional Center in Stringtown is now 131 percent, or 156 inmates, over capacity.
Atoka County Times

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections’ effort to shift thousands of state prisoners out of county jails has resulted in nearly two-thirds of state prisons being over capacity.

The Corrections Department is placing many inmates in designated “temporary” beds in various common areas of prisons, such as a gymnasium or day room.

In a related move, the agency is proposing to revise how it determines the maximum capacity of its prisons, by using a higher “operational” capacity that includes temporary beds, on top of the current “rated design capacity” — the number of inmates a facility is designed to hold. Under operational capacity, the current reported percentages of occupancy at many prisons could drop from over to under 100 percent.

The recent inmate population growth is raising concerns from the head of the state correctional officers’ group, who says safety is being compromised because inmates are being added while correctional staffing levels remain inadequate.

“I think it’s absolutely putting them (officers) in a dangerous spot,” said Sean Wallace, director of Oklahoma Correctional Professionals. “I’ve heard it from staff before … but now I’m hearing it directly from officers – they’re afraid to go to work.”

According to the corrections department’s Aug. 4 count of inmates, 16 of the state’s 24 minimum-, medium- and maximum-security prisons were at more than 100 percent capacity. The number slipped to 15 the following week. Five facilities had more than 100 inmates above their official capacity limits.

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Education
6:30 am
Sat August 16, 2014

$3.1 Million Grant From U.S. Department Of Education

Credit U.S. Department of Education

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Janet Barresi recently approved awarding almost $3.1 million in 21st Century Community Learning Center grants to 13 recipients for a five-year period beginning with the 2014-15 school year.

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Health
5:30 am
Sat August 16, 2014

Oklahoma Receives CDC Grant Of $1M Plus

U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention
Credit U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded Oklahoma a grant of more than $1 million that will be distributed over the next three years to help prevent prescription drug overdoses.

The grant will help Oklahoma officials improve the state's prescription drug monitoring program and identify drug abuse hot spots.

The CDC says Oklahoma has the sixth-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the U.S.

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Joe Mixon
6:25 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Freshman Running Back Charged With Misdemeanor Assault

Credit Army Recruiting / Flickr.com

Oklahoma freshman running back Joe Mixon, the school's top recruit, has been charged with misdemeanor assault.

The charge was handed down Friday by the Cleveland County District Attorney's office. He is accused of punching a woman during an argument, knocking her unconscious and breaking several bones in her face.

Mixon has not participated in team activities since July 25, when Norman police say a woman at a local restaurant was hit in the face by Mixon. The school has yet to make a decision regarding Mixon's eligibility.

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World Views
4:30 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

World Views: August 15, 2014

Listen to the entire August 15, 2014 episode.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot talk about the first woman to win math’s equivalent of the Nobel Prize, and North Korea’s missile test this week as Pope Francis visits South Korea.

Later, a conversation with classical Persian scholar Austin O’Malley. He says the language’s stability drew him to study centuries-old Near Eastern poetry.

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World Views
11:48 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Despite Missile Tests, Koreans, Chinese Optimistic During First Papal Visit In 25 Years

South Korean President Park Geun-hye welcomes Pope Francis at Seoul Airport, August 14.
Park Jun-soo South Korea Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism

South Korea's Defense Ministry says North Korea has fired three short-range projectiles into the sea.

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World Views
10:46 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Stanford Professor First Woman To Win Top Math Prize

Fields Medal recipient Maryam Mirzakhani.
International Mathematical Union (IMU)

An Iranian-born Stanford University professor is the first woman to win math's highest honor, the Fields Medal.

The International Mathematics Union awarded the prize Wednesday to Maryam Mirzakhani and three others.

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World Views
10:05 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Khayyam And Rumi: How Ancient Persian Poems Resonate In Modern Culture

An Ottoman era manuscript depicting Jalal al-Din Rumi and Shams-e Tabrizi.
Wikimedia Commons

When Austin O’Malley decided to take a Persian class during his last year of college, he had no idea it would become his life-long passion.

“I got a taste for it,” O’Malley says. “And that was very exciting on a personal level, and also sort of enlightening when you start seeing how language or literature works.”

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Politics and Government
8:38 am
Fri August 15, 2014

Oklahoma Group To Submit Medical Marijuana Petition

Dank Depot Flickr Creative Commons

A group that supports the use of medical marijuana in Oklahoma plans to submit signed petitions to the Oklahoma Secretary of State's office to have the issue placed on the November ballot.

Tulsa-based Oklahomans for Health plans to submit the petitions on Friday. The group faces a Saturday deadline to gather the signatures of more than 155,000 registered Oklahoma voters who support a referendum on the issue.

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Oklahoma Watch
2:00 am
Fri August 15, 2014

With Measles Close, Schools See Rise In Unvaccinated Students

Tracey McLaughlin
Credit Oklahoma Watch

As measles cases rise in nearby states, Oklahoma schools are seeing increasing percentages of kindergarteners walk into their classrooms without required immunization shots, according to survey data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.

Records show the percentage of kindergarteners whose families have claimed an immunization exemption under state law doubled from 0.7 percent in the 2005-2006 school year to 1.4 percent, or at least 572 students, in 2013-2014.

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