Closure of Oklahoma inmate work centers rattles communities

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- Oklahoma communities that rely on inmate labor for a variety of services are wondering what they'll do now that the state intends to close 15 inmate work centers statewide.

The Oklahoman reports that the Oklahoma Department of Corrections plans to close the work centers in order to mitigate some of the cost of the $37.5 million contract.

Officials and lawmakers around these work centers packed this month's Board of Corrections meeting to express their frustrations over the closures.

Mike Brown, mayor of Weatherford and president of the Oklahoma Municipal League, says most communities within 30 or 40 miles have voiced concerns because they've relied on the labor in the past.

Brown says they're particularly concerned about how they'll be able to pay for the workers they'll lose.

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