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Oklahoma DOC announces hiring freeze

The freeze applies to unfilled, approved positions that don’t have a conditional offer of employment

By Derrick James
McAlester News-Capital, Okla.

The Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced in a press release Wednesday a hiring freeze for most positions.

The press release cited the uncertainty over fiscal year 2018 budget cuts after the failure of Step Up Oklahoma’s proposal in the Oklahoma State House of Representatives Monday.

“Nearly 90 percent of our budget falls into four categories,” DOC Director Joe Allbaugh said in the press release. “That does not leave much wiggle room, and we can’t just close the Department of Corrections to save money. Therefore, I have put this agency on a hiring freeze until uncertainty with the fiscal year 2018 budget – which is more than half over – is resolved.”

The hiring freeze affects all agency positions except for correctional officers, food service workers and maintenance staff, as well as those who already received an employment offer prior to Wednesday’s announcement.

The freeze applies to unfilled, approved positions that don’t have a conditional offer of employment.

According to the Oklahoma Department of Corrections website, Oklahoma State Penitentiary currently has job openings in construction/maintenance, safety, and nursing.

Openings at Jackie Brannon Correctional Center include in construction/maintenance, fleet, and plumbing.

There are currently 309 employees at Oklahoma State Penitentiary and 135 at Jackie Brannon Correctional Center.

As the state’s fifth-largest agency, the agency contends with staff shortages and chronic, major maintenance problems at overcrowded, aging facilities spread across the state, as well as a high number of individuals under it’s supervision.

As of Wednesday, Oklahoma State Penitentiary had 658 prisoners and Jackie Brannon Correctional Center had 749 prisoners. The total population for the state is 27,163 with an overall capacity at 113 percent.

©2018 the McAlester News-Capital

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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