Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin asked the new Department of Corrections director to evaluate a public safety bill that many believe has not been funded adequately, the Tulsa World reports. On Friday, the Board of Corrections tapped Robert Patton to replace Justin Jones, who resigned last year from an agency that is plagued with crowded prisons, poor staffing and low morale. Patton is coming from the Arizona Department of Corrections, where he was the division director of operations.
In 2012, Fallin signed a law creating the Justice Reinvestment Initiative, which was designed to curb prison crowding and improve public safety. It called for two elements that have yet to be funded–the creation of “intermediate revocation facilities” for those who commit technical violations of probation and parole, and for more officers to supervise those leaving custody for nine months. Fallon asked Patton to evaluate the legislation, adding that she and legislators have not had confidence in the agency’s handling of its funds. Critics say Fallin backed off the measure for fear of being called soft on crime in an election year. “I want to make it very clear–I do support JRI,” Fallin said.