OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ The Department of Corrections spent nearly 13 times more on psychotropic drugs last year than it did in 1997, according to information presented Friday to a joint task force.
Dr. Robert Powitzky, the chief mental health officer for DOC, told the Task Force on Mental Health, Substance Abuse and Domestic Violence that approximately 26 percent of the state's 23,000 inmates have been diagnosed with some form of mental illness.
``We absolutely have an ever-increasing number of inmates in our system with serious mental illness,'' Powitzky said. ``Not only are the numbers increasing, but the pathology is increasing.''
Corrections, which already makes up 7.2 percent of the state's budget, is seeing a corresponding increase in the amount of money it spends on treatment for the mentally ill. In 2002, more than $6.7 million was spent professional salaries and medications in state-owned facilities, Powitzky said.
The task force also heard from Lt. Gov. Mary Fallin on the state's incarceration rates for women, which leads the nation.
``That's obviously something we're number one in that I'm not very proud of,'' said Fallin, who chaired a task force on women in prison in Oklahoma.
Fallin said a cycle of physical and sexual abuse, as well as escalating drug and alcohol problems, are driving the increases. An estimated 45 percent of female prisoners have substance abuse problems, mostly with methamphetamine, she said.