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Oklahoma's Inmate Population Is Growing 14 Times Faster Than the State's Adult Population

Ben Fenwick
Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma’s inmate population is growing far too fast, according to News OK. Since 1980, the state’s prison population grew 14 times faster than the state's adult population. In that period the number of people in Oklahoma prisons increased 485 percent.

The problem was brought into stark relief this month when an inmate at a facility in Stringtown was stabbed to death. The assault occurred in in a day room that ordinarily would be used for leisure. Instead, the room was loaded with 52 bunk beds.

Prison overpopulation is especially troubling among women. Oklahoma now locks up more women, per capita, than any other state.

The Obama administration is encouraging Oklahoma to spend more money on education than on corrections. In the past, Oklahoma’s spending on prisons has grown at a rate five times higher than per-pupil education spending. In the last 35 years when prison spending increased at a staggering rate, higher education funding fell by 19 percent.