In a show of unity, Governor Brad Henry, along with leaders of both the House and the Senate, agreed to a $24 million supplemental appropriation to the Department of Corrections while also giving $2 million to the Office of Juvenile Affairs.
“I appreciate the good work of legislative leaders, their respective budget chairmen, Treasurer Meacham and many others involved in negotiating this agreement,” Governor Henry said. “It is critical that we address the immediate needs of our prison system, and this agreement does that.”
“Our goal now is to craft a larger budget that will adequately fund corrections for the new fiscal year and eliminate the need for annual supplemental appropriations to DOC.”
Oklahoma Public Employees Executive Director Sterling Zearley feels that the early commitment from the government, along with the strong spirit of cooperation from both sides of the aisle is a positive signal that Corrections might get the attention it needs.
“In the wake of the recently completed audit of DOC, it looks as though finally the Capitol has taken these needs seriously,” he said.
Zearley adds that OPEA will continually monitor the DOC budget situation.
“This association feels justified that almost all the points made in the audit were issues we raised years ago,” Zearley said. “While the early supplemental appropriation is a good sign, but we must remain diligent to make sure that our corrections system is funded appropriately.”