New Okla. prisons chief: Facilities crumbling

Posted at 7:16 AM, Feb 11, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) -- A longtime Republican political operative who previously headed the Federal Emergency Management Agency has the daunting task of leading Oklahoma's overcrowded and underfunded prison system, which has come under scrutiny after problematic executions.

Joe Allbaugh said Wednesday that he's made unannounced visits to more than a dozen Oklahoma prisons. He says facilities are crumbling and overcrowded, guards are underpaid and understaffed, morale is low and the state is ill-prepared to handle a projected increase in inmates.

The 63-year-old Oklahoma native was appointed interim director last month and says he's still interested in taking the job full time and working to turn things around.

He's a death penalty supporter and says he's ready to update the state's execution protocols, which are the subject of a grand jury investigation.

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