At his first Board of Corrections meeting as director of the Oklahoma Corrections Department, Robert Patton said tackling the rising prison population is a top priority, reports The Oklahoman. Patton, who worked more than two decades for the Arizona Department of Corrections, started in Oklahoma in mid-February. He has established a population management team to look at ways to reduce inmate numbers.
Patton is trying to make sure the state is processing inmates through the parole process adequately. “So, in other words, if the courts have sentenced you to a certain sentence where you can earn credits or whatever it is to say you can be released this certain date, are we making sure that you are released on that date,” Patton said. Many Corrections Department records are kept on paper, and Patton acknowledged one way to improve the offender management system is to move to a computer-based model. “Every penny you spend in technology increases the efficiency of your agency,” Patton said. “Right now, I'm looking for quarters under the couch, but through appropriate planning and through appropriate budgeting I think we can address those things.”