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Oklahoma Sheriffs say Cancelled Contracts Create Hardships

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Sheriffs across Oklahoma say the state Department of Corrections' decision to break contracts to house state inmates with 10 county jails creates hardships for their departments.

The Oklahoman  reports that sheriffs are responding to Corrections Department Director Joe Allbaugh's announcement last week with emotions ranging from concern to near panic.

The plan is an effort to save $775,000 this fiscal year and comes as Oklahoma deals with a revenue shortfall projected to grow by $878 million next fiscal year.

Tillman County Sheriff Bobby Whittington says the department will have to lay off about 25 employees with the contract cancellation and that it threatens his department's existence.

Roger Mills County Sheriff Darren Atha and Craig County Sheriff Heath Winfrey say the move is a significant loss, but that they don't expect their departments to have layoffs.