OK (KWTV)- According to the State Department of Corrections, Oklahoma set a new state record for the number of prison inmates.
Housing 62,000 inmates accounts for a large part of the state budget. Oklahoma is currently housing more people behind bars than ever before.
Many of the inmates either are incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses or suffer from mental illness.
"Prison is not the place to get appropriate care. You aren't going to get the care that you need in there. You can treat people more inexpensively and better by dealing with them of the front-end, before they end up in the back of a police car. Before they end up in prison," said Jeff Dismukes with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
Carrie McCoy, a recovering meth and opioid addict, says prison is like college for criminals, and often it feeds their addiction.
"You get there and you meet people. You have better connections and are doing more criminal activity than you already do. And the criminal activity fuels the drug addiction and it's a hand in hand thing," said McCoy.