Oklahoma County Jail Reducing Inmate Population During Coronavirus (COVID-19) Pandemic

Wednesday, March 25th 2020, 7:52 pm
By: News 9

The Oklahoma County jail is shedding inmates and proud of it. With COVID-19 bearing down across the country—the jail has managed to reduce their inmate population by more than ten percent. 

According to county officials, it’s thanks to multiple offices and agencies doing their part for the greater good.

From January to February of 2020 the jail averaged around 1,700 inmates a day. That number has been reduced to around 1,500.

“I worked at the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office for ten years and I’ve never seen numbers that low,” said Mark Meyers, spokesman for the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office. 

Helping to put a dent in the number of inmates coming in are the deputies and police officers at the front of it all.

“We are seeing law enforcement agencies not bringing people to jail on a minor offense,” said Meyers.

Instead, at the request of the Oklahoma County sheriff, minor offenses are treated with citations that call a suspect to court at a later time.

“The sheriff sent out a letter to all Oklahoma County and metro area law-enforcement agencies and asked them if they can cite and release someone without bringing them to jail to please do that,” said Meyers. 

Also, helping to get inmates out of jail are judges, the DA’s office and public defenders.

“They have all been working hard at reducing the numbers and getting people out of jail who can be out of jail, mainly low level nonviolent offenders,” said Meyers. 

So far there are no cases of COVID-19 within the county jail. Among other safety measures currently in place, now any inmate brought in will be isolated for ten days and monitored for symptoms of illness.