Groups Serve as Havens for Ex-Offenders

Nonprofit groups with operations in Oklahoma City and Tulsa provide a transition for offenders leaving prison and jail and trying to re-enter society.

A Video Q&A on the ‘Prisoners of Debt’ Series

Oklahoma Watch reporters M. Scott Carter and Clifton Adcock joined Kris Steele, executive director of The Education and Employment Ministry, in talking with Kelly Dyer Fry, editor of The Oklahoman, about the “Prisoners of Debt” series.

Cassandra Bell, of Oklahoma City, holds up the debit card she was given upon release from the Mabel Bassett Correctional Center last year. The card holds the value of her trust fund account, Inmates must pay fees to use the card.

Prison Bankers Exact Fees, Profits From Families

Family members of Oklahoma prisoners say the state and counties are allowing private inmate banking firms to charge exorbitant fees for depositing money into inmates’ accounts.

A razor wire fence surrounds the Joseph A. Harp Correctional Center in Lexington.

Families Pay Steep Prices for Inmates’ Phone Calls

Families of inmates in Oklahoma prisons and jails say they are being gouged with fees for talking by phone with offenders. The FCC is moving to rein in the charges, but state and local officials warn of consequences.

Prisoners of Debt

Revenue Dilemma at Heart of Rising Offender Fees

After voters approved a law making it difficult to increase taxes, the Legislature, state agencies and courts turned more to fees and fines as a way to help pay for state operations.