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The Latest: Prisons chief: Halfway house closure is warning

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Latest on the Oklahoma Department of Corrections' decision to terminate a contract with the operator of a halfway house, Catalyst Behavioral Services, after officials say lax oversight led to an inmate's death (all times local):

11 a.m.

The head of Oklahoma's prison system says his decision to end a contract with a halfway house after lax oversight led to an inmate's death should serve as a warning to other state contractors who house offenders.

Department of Corrections Director Joe Allbaugh said Monday the agency has struggled for years ensuring proper oversight at some of the halfway house facilities that house about 1,250 male and female offenders.

Allbaugh said the agency canceled its contract with Catalyst Behavioral Services in part because inmates were allowed to come and go without accountability.

The state pays Catalyst $32.50 per day for each of the 106 inmates housed at its Oklahoma City halfway house.

Telephone and email messages to Catalyst officials were not immediately returned.


9:30 a.m.

The Oklahoma Department of Correction has ended its contract with the operator of an Oklahoma City halfway house after officials say lax oversight led to an inmate's death.

Department Director Joe Allbaugh said Monday that Catalyst Behavioral Services did not "conduct necessary functions effectively," including allowing inmates to come and go without accountability.

Allbaugh says inmate Justin Sullivan left the facility Nov. 11 and was not noticed missing until after Ardmore police found his and a woman's burned bodies in a charred vehicle.

A phone call to the halfway house was not answered.

Department spokesman Matt Elliott said about 100 inmates are being removed from the halfway house. The inmates are near the end of their sentences for nonviolent crimes and were sent there to help transition back into society.

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