Public Safety Agencies and Services

Public Safety Agencies and Services

After education and health and social services, Oklahoma spends more appropriated dollars on public safety — $737 million in FY 2017–than on any set of services.

The Department of Corrections receives over half of all public safety appropriations, $485 million in FY 2017. Appropriations have grown 4.5 percent since FY 2011, more than the overall budget, which was roughly the same in both years. Almost the entire budget goes to house over 25,000 inmates at 17 state prisons and 6 private facilities. The department also operates community corrections centers for low-security inmates.

Appropriations to the Department of Public Safety were $89 million in FY 2017. The department receives about $70 million from other sources including federal payments, payment from the Oklahoma Turnpike Authority to patrol toll roads, fines, and fees. The department’s major functions are patrolling highways and turnpikes and managing the state’s driver license program.

Oklahoma’s courts received about $74 million in FY 2017 state appropriations. The courts are a three-tiered system in which cases are tried in one of the 77 District Courts. Some cases are appealed to the Court of Criminal Appeals and/or the Supreme Court.

The District Attorneys Council receives $35 million in appropriations in FY 2017 and approximately $77 million in federal grants and payments from fines and fees, local governments, and other sources. This agency provides much of the funding for the 27 elected local district attorneys to prosecute criminal cases.

Several specialized public safety agencies also receive state appropriations. Chief among these are:

  • The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation, which supports law enforcement efforts statewide, and received $12 million in appropriations in FY 2017;
  • The Oklahoma Indigent Defense System, which provides legal defense counsel for those who cannot afford it, and was appropriated $15 million in FY 2017; and
  • The Attorney General, an elected office that represents the state in legal proceedings including civil cases, criminal appeals and constitutional challenges. Its FY 2017 appropriation was $6 million.

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