ODOC terminates OKC halfway house contract; cites public safety concerns
OKLAHOMA CITY – The Oklahoma Department of Corrections has terminated its contract with Catalyst Behavioral Services to operate an Oklahoma City halfway house due to lapses in inmate safety and security.
Monday morning, ODOC correctional officers responded to the Catalyst’s Invahoe and Cameo location at 415 NW Eighth St. with buses to move the department’s inmates in the providers care to other facilities.
“We had ongoing serious concerns about the safety of Catalyst’s operation of this halfway house,” said ODOC Director Joe M. Allbaugh. “Catalyst’s failure to conduct necessary functions effectively at this halfway house allowed inmates to come and go without proper accountability. Private individuals could also access the facility without security’s knowledge.”
ODOC officials canceled the contract due to the halfway house not conducting counts properly, inmates being away from the facility without accountability, and lack of staff training verification.
Serious problems at the halfway house include oversights that led to the death of an inmate. Catalyst’s count practices allowed Justin Sullivan, DOC No. 697978, to go missing Nov. 11. Ardmore police found Sullivan’s charred remains in a burned vehicle 16 hours before Catalyst staff discovered him missing.
Police are investigating Sullivan’s death, as well as that of the woman found with him, as homicides.
An ODOC investigation found that Sullivan had left Catalyst with inmate Carlton Franklin, DOC No. 491751, on Nov. 11.
Franklin would later return that day without Sullivan. He walked away again from the halfway house Nov. 12, and was arrested four days later in Tulsa for an armed robbery allegation.
“Inmate Franklin is a prime example of how this facility’s operational practices have become a public safety nuisance,” Allbaugh said.
ODOC officials have also uncovered evidence that private individuals have been able to enter and exit the halfway house without security’s knowledge.
In response, ODOC has posted its own security staff on site since Nov. 23. It has ongoing concerns with Catalyst Behavioral Services’ staff training, their experience and ability to conduct proper inmate counts, as well as contraband control and proper searches.
ODOC’s halfway house requirements allow inmates to leave facilities only for approved purposes, such as going to a job, finding employment or attending church. A case manager must approve itineraries for such departures.
Any deviation from an approved itinerary can be met with sanctions. Additionally, inmates must return to the facility by a specified time. If they do not, they can be reported as walkaways, which could lead to a felony count of escape and additional prison time.
Monday’s decision does not affect ODOC’s contract with Catalyst to operate a halfway house in Enid. No issues of significance have taken place at that facility.
Catalyst has been a contractor with ODOC for approximately 14 years.