Hundreds of convicted Oklahoma murderers are not being held at the state’s most-secure prisons, The Oklahoman reports. They include Robert Grady Johnson, convicted of helping his gay lover murder three employees and a customer at a bank. “It’s not right,” said R.E. Tanner, the father of one victim, Joyce Mullenix, who was pregnant. Most of the 1,700 inmates convicted of first-degree murder are scattered across the state in private and state-run medium-security facilities. Fewer than a third are in maximum security.
“Inmates can earn their way down,” Corrections Department Director Justin Jones said. “For us, medium security is considered high security.” Officials say they don’t have room for all the murderers at their maximum-security facilities. They want to add almost 1,600 maximum-security beds at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. “You just don’t go by the crime,” Jones said. “We’ve got some people at maximum security that came in on nonviolent crimes” but may have tried to escape, commit suicide or attacked an officer. Some murderers were involved in crimes of passion but “they’re not a threat to you or I even if they were home,” says Jones. “After a period of years, with a spotless record, you can earn the right to go to medium.”