Tulsa County considered as a mannequin for options as criticism of Oklahoma Bail System Compound Newest headlines
Author Senator Roger Thompson, R-Okemah, expects the bill to move forward in the upcoming session, and he cited Tulsa County’s practices as an example of what lawmakers are trying to do across the state.
The newly expanded Tulsa County’s bond history runs seven days a week and on public holidays, ensuring that each inmate appears before a judge within 24 hours to determine the bond individually.
The committee heard experts speak on the matter from every angle, and many who testified agreed that bail-out prisons overcrowded with non-violent inmates are costly to taxpayers. The longer inmates sit in jail, the more likely they are to fail or recur in court.
In analyzing FY 2018 data, Open Justice Oklahoma, a program run by the Oklahoma Policy Institute, found that bail practices vary widely from county to county.
“Where you are arrested and where you are put in jail depends a lot on how long you stay there, how quickly your case is resolved and how ruined your life becomes,” said Ryan Gentzler. Director of Open Justice Oklahoma.
In eight of the 13 boroughs studied, the average time an inmate spent in jail in court was 26 days, Gentzler said.
“Twenty-six days is more than enough time to lose your job, fall behind on rent, get evicted, lose custody of your children, and so on,” he told the committee. “Thousands of Oklahomans face this fate every year.”