The executive director of the Oklahoma Dept. of Corrections announced Monday he will resign Oct. 1, according to eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley. The announcement from Justin Jones comes after a legislative session where the department’s funding was not increased and its budget practices were called into question by key legislative and executive budget negotiators.
Jones asked lawmakers for a supplemental appropriation before the start of the legislative session, saying the DOC would run out of money before the end of the fiscal year.
Lawmakers did not provide a supplemental appropriation for that fiscal year or the current one. Gov. Mary Fallin’s executive budget also did not provide the additional funding Jones had requested.
In presenting details on the budget when it was released in February, Preston Doerflinger, secretary of finance and revenue, downplayed the DOC’s request.
“We've got to have a very frank conversation with the director and understand exactly what the needs are. No smoke and mirrors. We've got to know what the needs are," Doerflinger said.
He also expressed concern that Jones used “doom and gloom” stories to sell “fear and doubt” in asking for more money for the state’s prison system.
Jones started his Dept. of Corrections career as a probation and parole officer in 1977. He worked his way through several positions before being named director in 2005.
The Board of Corrections, which is responsible for choosing the next executive director, meets Friday at the Lexington Reception Center.