State Department of Corrections

Politics and Government
12:17 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Bill Filed To Create Alert System For Escaped Inmates

State Rep. John Paul Jordan (R-Yukon)

An Oklahoma lawmaker has filed a measure to notify the public when inmates escape from state prisons.

The measure by Rep. John Paul Jordan of Yukon will act as an "Amber Alert" or "Silver Alert" system for the public whenever a prisoner escapes into the general population. Jordan says it would notify the public and give them an opportunity to protect themselves.

Read more
Politics and Government
3:29 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

Gov. Fallin Creates Criminal Justice Reform Committee

Gov. Mary Fallin
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin has issued an executive order creating a special committee to develop reforms to how the state handles nonviolent offenders who have substance abuse problems and mental health issues.

Fallin issued the order Wednesday creating the six-member Oklahoma Justice Reform Steering Committee.

The committee will develop a plan for implementing justice reform measures tailored to Oklahoma's security needs and budget and prioritize ways to reduce prison overcrowding and promote public safety.

Read more
Capital Punishment
4:55 pm
Thu January 8, 2015

Corrections Department Director Says State Ready To Resume Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

One week before a man's scheduled execution for killing a baby, the head of Oklahoma's prison system says he's confident in his staff's ability to carry out the first lethal injection in the state since one went awry in April.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton told the Board of Corrections on Thursday that the staff at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester has worked "very hard" to prepare for the execution and three others planned soon.

Read more
Oklahoma News
5:00 pm
Tue January 6, 2015

Four Inmates Escape Prison In Less Than One Week

Credit mikecogh / Flickr Creative Commons

An Oklahoma prison inmate who walked away from a minimum security facility on New Year's Eve was the fourth inmate to escape from the prison in less than a week.

Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie says 24-year-old Christopher Rowe remained on the loose Tuesday. Massie says officials believe he is in the Tulsa area. The other three inmates who walked away from the John H. Lilley Correctional Center on Dec. 27 were returned to the Okfuskee County facility within a day.

Read more
Private Prisons
12:50 pm
Mon January 5, 2015

Second Death At Private Prison In Six Months Ruled A Homicide

Credit Michael Coghlan

The state medical examiner's office says the death of an inmate last month at the Davis Correctional Facility in Holdenville was due to strangulation.

Office spokeswoman Amy Elliott says the Dec. 2 death of 28-year-old Eric Grimm has been ruled a homicide.

It's the second strangulation at the private prison, following that of 22-year-old Tony Czernicki who was found strangled in his cell in October. Both inmates had cellmates.

Prison officials say they don't believe the two deaths are related.

Read more
Oklahoma Execution
6:08 pm
Fri December 19, 2014

Department Of Corrections Director Says State Has Drugs Needed For Executions

Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Oklahoma's prison system chief says the state has the drugs it needs to execute four inmates early next year and plans to administer the same three drugs used in a botched execution this spring.

Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton told a federal judge Friday the agency plans to use the exact formula used successfully in 11 executions in Florida, one that he believes is "humane."

The judge plans to rule Monday in a case in which lawyers for 21 death row inmates say the sedative midazolam presents a risk of cruel and unusual punishment.

Read more
Oklahoma Watch
7:27 am
Sun December 14, 2014

Oklahoma Corrections Policies Changed To Release More Offenders

The Joseph Harp Correctional Center in Lexington
Oklahoma Watch

Pushing to reduce prison overcrowding, the Oklahoma Department of Corrections has quietly changed its policies to give early releases to greater numbers of violent and sex offenders, according to agency documents obtained by Oklahoma Watch.

The department is doing so by relaxing policies that determine which types of inmates can receive early-release credits, when those credits can be given, and how many credits offenders can receive, corrections department records show.

Read more
Death Penalty
11:08 am
Mon October 13, 2014

Attorney General's Office: State Not Ready For November Execution

Oklahoma death row inmate Charles Warner
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt says the state does not have the drugs on hand or the medical staff prepared needed to carry out a Nov. 13 execution, and is requesting a delay until January.

In a notice filed late Friday with the Oklahoma Court of Criminal Appeals, Pruitt formally asked the court to delay the upcoming executions of Richard Eugene Glossip, John Marion Grant and Charles Warner.

Read more
Death Penalty
3:43 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Oklahoma Spends $106K to Renovate Death Chamber

Oklahoma Death Chamber
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Oklahoma prison officials have spent more than $106,000 renovating the death chamber inside the Oklahoma State Penitentiary.

The Department of Corrections is allowing members of the media inside the prison's maximum-security H-unit on Thursday to see the new room.

Read more
Death Penalty
1:47 pm
Mon August 25, 2014

News Organizations Sue Oklahoma Over Execution

The execution of convicted murderer Clayton Lockett is alleged to have taken as long as 45 minutes, according to witnesses.
Credit Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Two news organizations have filed a federal lawsuit accusing Oklahoma prison officials of violating the First Amendment by preventing reporters from viewing portions of a botched execution. 

Monday's lawsuit follows the April 29 death of inmate Clayton Lockett, who writhed, moaned and clenched his teeth before dying. Prison officials halted the execution after discovering a problem with an intravenous line. Lockett died of a heart attack about 10 minutes later.

Read more