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Friction Between Sheriffs, Prison Officials Reignites

Robert Patton, Director, Oklahoma Department of Corrections
Oklahoma Department of Corrections

Friction between the state's new prisons director and some county sheriffs is flaring up because of a pair of bills in the state Legislature.

Robert Patton began taking inmates out of county jails shortly after he started at the Department of Corrections about a year ago.

That move angered many sheriffs who count on the $27-per-day the state pays for housing the inmates to help maintain county jail operations.

Corrections officials are now pushing two bills to delay when the department begins paying counties for housing a state inmate.

Both are drawing fierce resistance from county sheriffs and reigniting sore feelings between the two sides.

House Speaker Jeffrey Hickman is urging the sides to reach a compromise on how the state might be able to utilize empty county jail beds.


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