Here we are again. Another study about the Oklahoma County Jail has been completed, and here’s a shocker: The experts think we need an entirely new facility.
For a thorough summary of what the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority may recommend at a Nov. 18 meeting, read Matt Patterson’s report. Questions about size, cost and payment mechanisms will be ongoing, and the conversation early on seems to be about how “humane” we want our community’s detention center to be.
“The building we have is just not fixable. It just isn’t. I would move, and the subcommittee would move, to direct the consultants to focus their remaining efforts strictly on a new jail and stop trying to figure out a way to retrofit the old jail or retrofit an annex,” said CJAC member and Homeless Alliance director Dan Straughan. “Neither one of those options is going to get us to a safe, humane detention center. The debate over right-sizing, that’s to come.”
What exactly will be done remains to be seen, but I suppose it’s nice to hear of even the slightest momentum toward action on a problem that has been a problem for too long.
I don’t think all these studies were needed to tell us these things, as people in Oklahoma County have been aware of just how bad the jail has been for many years now. What local leaders need now is an actionable plan and discussion about an election because it appears revenue will be required from bonds or other sources.
It seems reasonable to me and better than some of the other options at the current building.
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