|Updated: 12/03/2012 5:14 pm
||Published: 12/03/2012 3:32 pm
The Tulsa County Jail is bursting at the seams with the number of inmates taking a big jump.
Due to warrant sweeps and other social factors, it could wind up costing the taxpayer money. The standard cost to house an inmate each day is $59, but extra food and manpower isn’t cheap.
Whether it’s a deck of cards or a game of chess, inmates at the jail will do anything just to pass the time. Michael Hill is only 22 years old, but he knows what it’s like to be behind bars. He’s been in jail before for a DUI, but today, he’s come back to serve time for a hit and run.
"Going to jail is terrible period and I don't want to go to jail and I don't want to sleep on no boat or a cot, and I don't want to sit in a chair I just want to go home,” he says.
As of 10:00 Monday morning, there were 1,822 inmates, but the jail can only hold 1,714.
"The judges are very aware of the people that are trying to sit out their fines in jail, and we think the economy is playing a factor in that,” says Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office Major, Shannon Clark.
High unemployment, recent warrant arrests and a slow economy are all contributing to the high numbers at the jail right now. So, the Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office and other agencies are looking at ways to fix the problem.
"If you have someone sitting their fines out and they have a job on the outside, it would seem better to put them back into the community and let them earn money to pay off their fines,” says Clark.
Because the Sheriff’s Office can’t really ask the taxpayer for more money, it’s hoping the fines that people pay will continue to run system. For anyone not paying their fine, Michael has a message
"Basically, do what you've got to do and be an adult and take care of your business,” he says.
If you don’t pay your fine, a warrant can be issued for your arrest and you could serve jail time. You will have to pay bond money and even more fines. You can go to the Tulsa County Clerk’s office to make arrangements to pay your fines or court costs.
If the overcrowding continues and the jail is forced to operate outside the budget, the cost could fall back on the taxpayer.