OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, also known as the Jail Trust, held their final meeting of 2021 On Monday afternoon.
During the meeting, the Trust was given a report from the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) and a report from Trust CEO Greg Williams and outside counsel Paula Williams of Gable Gotwals. Both presentations painted a picture of a very successful year in criminal legal reforms.
The Trust also received a presentation by Dan Straughan, Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance. Straughan gave a thorough, but mercifully brief presentation on the work of his organization in Oklahoma City.
Marty Peercy reports Local government
Tim Tardibono, Executive Director of CJAC, presented that body’s 3rd annual report at the Trust meeting Monday afternoon.
Most of Tardibono’s presentation focused on what CJAC considers major accomplishments and improvements in the criminal legal environment in Oklahoma County.
According to data, the Jail population has been steadily decreasing over the past three years since CJAC has been able to track it.
As far as improving the legal system locally, Tardibono described the work as climbing on two mountains. One mountain is the physical facility of the Jail and the infrastructure for holding detainees in Oklahoma County. The other mountain is the legal mountain, made up of the judiciary, police, and prosecutors.
Tardibono described a slowdown in reform efforts during the pandemic. He believes the community had momentum for reforms before the pandemic, and he sees that momentum building again now.
Tardibono celebrated our state legislature for funding mental health plans in the state, as well as appropriating money for more Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) for local police.
Trust CEO Greg Williams also gave what amounted to a year-in-review presentation.
For reasons not explained, Paula Williams of Gable Gotwals co-presented with Mr. Williams*.
Free Press does not have an hourly dollar amount for Ms. Williams’s service, but one must expect that presentation cost the Jail Trust several hundreds of dollars.
The Williams and Williams presentation focused on what a great job the Trust and staff have done in making the conditions at the Jail less inhumane than they were before the trust took over. Many before and after photographs were deployed in that effort.
- New air circulation and plumbing have been significantly improved, if not outright replaced. Bed Bug mitigation is still in high gear, at a cost of approximately $8,000 a month.
- Williams explained that in November more people were released from the Jail than were booked into the Jail.
- During November, the Jail served over 179,000 meals.
- In the last fourteen days, only one case of COVID has been found active in the Jail.
- Four detention center employees are out with COVID currently.
- All detainees are able to receive a vaccine if they choose.
Dan Straughan, Executive Director of the Homeless Alliance, gave a presentation about the purpose and practices of his organization.
Homeless Alliance has the stated mission to “rally the community to end homelessness.”
Straughan pointed out that their mission statement doesn’t include “feed the hungry,” or “clothe the naked.” However, you can’t do what the mission statement asks without those things.
Straughan provided familiar statistics about people experiencing homelessness in Oklahoma City, including race, gender, mental illness, and substance use.
Straughan explained that homelessness is a complex issue.
“Homelessness is almost never the result of one thing.”
The next meeting of the Jail Trust will be on January 3, 2022, at 1:00 p.m. As of the new year, Jail Trust meetings will be held on the first Monday of the month.
*Greg Williams and Paula Williams are not related.
Disclosure: Marty Peercy is the husband of Oklahoma City Council member JoBeth Hamon.
Last Updated January 13, 2022, 3:52 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor