|Updated: 5/06 5:39 pm
||Published: 5/06 5:06 pm
The Department of Corrections says it needs more money to keep up with the growing inmate population, but Governor Mary Fallin's new budget doesn't include any.
FOX23’s Ian Silver found taxpayers might still have to foot the bill.
With more than 26,000 inmates the Department of Corrections is close to capacity and expects to exceed capacity in the coming fiscal year at least without more money.
But those inmates have to go somewhere so while they're waiting in the Tulsa County Jail taxpayers have to continue paying for them.
"We have all these people that are ready. Then we just keep getting more and more. Eventually, it's just gonna stack up and we're gonna not really have anywhere to put them."
It’s a real concern for detention officer Sally Matthews, who already is responsible for up to 15 more inmates than capacity for her pod.
Major Shannon Clark with the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office says one reason for that is the jail is already housing too many state inmates. "We have 166 people waiting to go to Department of Corrections today. Monday is the heaviest day court dockets for Tulsa County courts. They’re going to sentence a whole bunch more people today. So that number is going to grow by leaps and bounds…just in a matter of hours."
That's why Clark says housing more Department of Corrections inmates simply cannot happen.
"They’re gonna have to take those people. It’s not an option. That’s how our system is set up. That’s how it's designed. If the system is not properly funded, somebody’s got to fund that."
FOX23 did some digging and found out it costs the Tulsa County Jail about $59 per day to house an inmate.
When they house Department of Corrections inmates they're only getting paid back $27 per inmate by the state.
Clark says Tulsa County taxpayers should not have to pay the difference.
"We're only to detain people long enough to have their day in court. Their day in court has come, it's went, now they need to go onto the correctional facilities where they can be rehabilitated, or they can do other things that they can't do here at a detention facility."
Clark is hoping the legislature can come up with a funding compromise with the department of corrections before the budget is finalized.
Governor Mary Fallin unveiled the states $7 billion dollar budget last week. It included no extra funding for the department of corrections despite the agency asking for an additional $67 million dollars.