12-4-05 - OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) Corrections officials say a funding shortfall causing problems inside prisons also is hampering probation and parole officers trying to keep track of sex offenders and other criminals.
Governor Brad Henry and other Democratic leaders pushed for action at a special session to beef up prison funding. But the Republican majority in the House refused to go along, saying the problem could be handled when the Legislature convenes in regular session in February.
Officials say the public's safety is at risk because of manpower problems besetting the parole and probation division, which is charged with supervising people convicted of serious crimes, including rape and child molestation.
Veteran probation and parole officer Ray Aldridge says the problem is especially acute in rural areas, where one officer may be charged with overseeing as many as 130 offenders.