Storm damages Corrections Department facility

Tuesday, May 13th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ More than 200 state inmates are in a different facility after the prison where they had been housed was heavily damaged by Friday's tornado.

The storm did about $5.5 million in damage to the Clara Waters Community Corrections Center in north Oklahoma City.

The 216 male inmates being held there were transferred to a former maximum-security women's prison, the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center. That facility was emptied two weeks ago when the Department of Corrections took over a private women's prison in McLeod, which now goes by the same name.

``That worked out pretty well,'' DOC spokesman Jerry Massie said Monday. ``I don't know what we would have done (otherwise), besides scattering them throughout the system.''

Corrections officials said they aren't sure what financial effect the loss of the Clara Waters prison will have on their agency, but it could affect how many furlough days are taken in June.

Last month, the department reported that budget cuts and furloughs had finally helped the agency get out of a multimillion dollar deficit it had been running for much of the year.

Edward Evans, the department's deputy director of administration, told Board of Corrections members in April that the agency should be able to finish the year with a small surplus, barring any natural disasters.

The financial situation had improved enough that the DOC canceled one of its two furlough days for May and was considering canceling another in June. Department employers were scheduled to take three days of unpaid leave in June.

That plan may not be possible now, Massie said.