The Oklahoma County jail, now known and the Oklahoma County Detention Center, is seeing fewer and fewer inmates than it has in the past.
For the first time in 20 years, the county is seeing a measurable trend where the jail population has fallen under 1,700 people per day.
“We really didn’t see a drop start until around 2017, and now we’ve been able to keep that down under 1,700 for over 18 months,” said Timothy Tardibono, the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council executive director .
On Thursday, the advisory council presented it’s quarterly report. It shows criminal justice reform is working to reduce the jail population along with diversionary programs.
"Like drug court, mental health court, the district attorney’s office is bringing online veterans court soon. They already have a veteran’s diversion program, community sentencing. And on the front end we have court services here,” Tardibono said.
The report shows the daily population for fiscal year 2020 at 1,624 inmates. That’s down almost 1,000 from 2009.
County commissioners hope it drops even more with the use of $36 million federal CARES Act money used to slow the spread of COVID-19.
“Some people say just build a whole new one and that’s certainly an option. Another option would be to build more facilities adjacent to the existing one, draw out the population that doesn’t need a maximum security facility that provides additional services,” said Oklahoma County Commissioner Kevin Calvey.
“Most of my time here in office, we were seeing stuff going the wrong direction, so just even stopping the ship and starting to turn directions is a huge, monumental accomplishment,” Oklahoma County Commissioner Brian Maughan said.