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Court Of Civil Appeals Upholds Prisoner Per Diem Ruling

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The Oklahoma Court of Civil Appeals has upheld a district court ruling that it's unconstitutional to require counties to use county revenue to house state inmates in county jails.

The ruling on Wednesday comes in a lawsuit filed in 2013 by the Bryan County Board of Commissioners against the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. It challenged per diem rates paid for housing state prisoners.

The ruling says inmates are held in county jails on behalf of the state prison system, and the state constitution requires the state to fund the system.

The ruling says laws capping reimbursement rates to counties are unconstitutional if a county spends more to house an inmate than it is reimbursed, but also says there is no evidence the county is spending more than the top rate.

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