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Oklahoma prison officials seek increase in funding

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma prison officials want legislators to provide more money for a system that is struggling with overcrowding and turnover among employees.

A legislative budget panel is to hear presentations Thursday in advance of the coming legislative session.

The Department of corrections has struggled to retain prison guards, who often cite the low pay as a reason for leaving their jobs. Prisons in rural counties are particularly hard hit when it comes to turnover.

Many people working as prison guards can double their pay by going to work in the oil fields.

In December, prison officials asked for an additional $6.4 million to accommodate a gain of 800 prisoners over the past year. The money would, in part, go toward paying for private prisons and halfway houses.

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