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Number of inmates down at BJCC

 

David Louthan, BJCC deputy warden

The Bill Johnson Correctional Center (BJCC) Advisory Board met Tuesday noon and learned that at present 535 offenders are incarcerated in the Alva facility. There are 63 empty beds with 37 on Unit 4 (created to house longer-term inmates transferred from other facilities).

These empty beds are contrary to the Department of Corrections problems throughout their system of being at 104-108 percent capacity.

Deputy Warden David Louthan said because BJCC has been so successful with their programs at reducing recidivism, State Director Joe Allbaugh is trying to provide an opportunity to restore programs discontinued when classrooms were converted to house prisoners. Hopefully, strategies can be developed from this for the rest of the DOC system.

Warden Becky Guffy was unable to attend the meeting.

David Louthan, who substituted, said he recently spent five months serving as deputy warden at James Crabtree Correctional Center in Helena. He said it was a great learning experience to work with a different staff at another facility.

"However, I was very glad to get the opportunity to return to Alva, because this IS home," he said.

In routine matters, the BJCC Advisory Board approved the minutes from their Nov. 18, 2016, meeting. Treasurer Freelin Roberts provided a treasurer's report. The board has $41,495.49 in the Alva Prison Chapel Care Endowment account at Communities Foundation of Oklahoma. In two small local accounts: the Chapel Care Fund has $3,193.30, and the Old Prison Chapel Fund has $43.93. The board recently spent $165.95 from that account for replacement shingles at the chapel.

The board also reviewed the bylaws and made no changes.

Deputy Warden Louthan warned that there is a new policy for inmates who work outside the prison for local non-profit organizations. The new contract will have a flat fee of $120 per month/per trainee. The City of Alva, as well as Northwestern Oklahoma State University, will be significantly impacted by this. Joe Don Dunham asked if a "dual" contract might be created with different terms for different seasons of the year. Louthan said he was not the one who makes that decision, but he was skeptical it would go.

Todd Holder, DOC board member, gave a brief report how the Alva BJCC is the crown jewel of all the prisons in Oklahoma. He warned that system-wide a 15 percent increase in the number of incarcerated individuals is being seen each year and "we cannot continue at that rate," he said.

Renae Beeler told of BJCC participation in Pack the Park. She said the two drug dogs had a great time playing with the kids. Beeler mentioned that Warden Guffy wants to see more community involvement between Alva and BJCC.

 

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