Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 73105
For Immediate Release: February 23, 2012
Sen. Don Barrington
Inmate cremation bill heads to House
A measure to save the state Department of Corrections (DOC) thousands
of dollars each year was unanimously approved in the Senate Thursday.
Senate Bill 1069, by Sen.
Don Barrington, would authorize the DOC to deduct the cost of
inmate cremations from the individuals’ acquired funds.
“We needed to address a situation that’s becoming more
and more common for the Department of Corrections. Inmates pass
away and their designee doesn’t want to claim the remains,
but they do collect their personal belongings and any funds that
individual accumulated while behind bars leaving the agency with
the bill for cremation. It’s not right,” said Barrington,
R-Lawton. “This measure will allow the agency to basically
let the deceased inmate pay for their own cremation by using what
money they accumulated while in prison.”
After entering into DOC custody, inmates are required to name a
designee to receive any possessions and money they have should they
pass away while in prison. During incarceration, inmates build up
what is referred to as a “trust fund” which consists
of funds they earn through working in the prison and money they
receive from their families for toiletries and other necessities.
Under SB 1069, upon an inmate’s death, if the designee declines
to pay for burial and DOC has to cremate the individual, the agency
will deduct the cost of that procedure from the balance due to the
The measure was requested by the DOC, which estimates that the number
of cremations will continue to increase as the state’s inmate
“As our prison population ages, we anticipate our offender
death rate to rise. This legislation provides the Department of
Corrections the ability to minimize the potential cost to the state
for offender cremations,” said Justin Jones, DOC Director.
According to the Department of Corrections, there were only ten
cremations performed in FY ’11 at a cost of roughly $350 each
or a total of $3,500. The agency expects that number to increase,
however, as the number of inmates age 50 and over has steadily increased
in recent decades. In 1980, there were only 85 inmates in that age
bracket making up less than five percent of the prison population
whereas last year there were over 3,800 making up 15 percent of
SB 1069 now moves to the House for further consideration.
For more information contact:
Sen. Barrington: (405) 521-5563