Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett Pushes For Justice Reforms

Friday, September 22nd 2017, 9:20 am
By: Grant Hermes

It's no secret there are serious problems at the Oklahoma County jail, but efforts to find solutions have hit road blocks. 

Now, the city's Chamber of Commerce is trying to help. One member in particular has been very vocal. 

That would be the Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett. 

He's profiled in a new piece from the Vera Institute for Justice

The article highlights Bennett's push to get business leaders at the forefront of reforms, lawmakers have ignored recommendations from criminal justice task forces and bipartisan talks have repeatedly broken down. 

The jail has notoriously terrible conditions, many cells lined with mold or holding too many inmates. 

The jail has also been at the center of several contentious lawsuits over claimed civil rights violations including some surrounding the 11 deaths in the jail so far this year. 

Bennett, who details his own brush with a DUI in the newly released article, said things need to change at the jail as fast as possible. 

"To have the overcrowding and the poor quality and the lack of service and the lack of attention to mental illness and addiction," Bennett said. "These are things that must change and they must change as quickly as we can change them."

The jail has until January to resolve its problems or taxpayers could face federal consequences.