Guards, inmates say morale is low

Wednesday, July 5th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- Morale among guards and inmates in Oklahoma's prison system is bad and getting worse.

So says prison workers and the family of an inmate in a story in today's Tulsa World. The unnamed workers and family members say short-staffing and changes in policies resulting from truth-in-sentencing has guards and prisoners on edge.

Department of Corrections officials say inmate-to-guard ratio and employment numbers have remained stable. They also say that until this spring, the number of serious crimes remained stable from 1992 through 1999.

Officials admit there are about 400 job openings for guards but they downplay reports of increased tension and contraband weapons.

An inmate stabbed to death one guard and wounded another in June at the Oklahoma State Reformatory.

But guards and inmates say the number of contraband weapons in the prisons has increased. And they say that tension on both sides of the bars has increased, which has resulted in more aggressive behavior from both guards and inmates.