|Updated: 8/30/2013 4:47 pm
||Published: 8/30/2013 12:11 pm
On Friday, the Jail Trust Authority approved additional funding for the Tulsa County Jail fund, but sheriff’s office officials say it’s not enough to cover increasing costs.
According to the Tulsa County Sheriff, he once found out eight people sat in jail for letting their dogs run loose, costing the city $45 per day, each.
“Not a very serious violation,” Sheriff Stanley Glanz said.
Sand Springs Mayor Mike Burdge added, “It’d be cheaper to jail their dogs.”
“When you have people in there for those insignificant of crimes and yet we’re facing an overpopulation crisis and we’re facing a money shortfall, those are critical to our needs,” Major Shannon Clark explains.
Major Clark says a study found the jail is operating with a skeleton crew at near full capacity, stretching resources that are already scarce.
That’s in addition to the extra pods the sheriff’s office had been saying the jail needs, plus more resourced for the hundreds of inmates with mental health issues.
At Friday’s meeting, FOX23 crews found out there are 26 beds in the medical unit, and at one time half of those were filled with inmates on suicide watch.
“In addition to 450 everyday are on some type of psychotropic,” Major Clark adds.
Tulsa Mayor Dewey Bartlett agrees mental health issues are costly.
“From the city of Tulsa stand point, we have to drive people around, literally around the state,” he says of distant mental health facilities. “If we could address our mental health issue locally, it would save the city of Tulsa quite a bit of money.”
When asked about the sheriff’s remarks Friday regarding the jail’s funding needs, Mayor Bartlett said it’s a matter of looking at how money is spent. Saying sheriff’s office officials are “right on point” as they described needs that could double staffing along with increasing costs for food, utilities and everything else that goes into running a jail.
FOX23 crews asked Mayor Bartlett whether he thinks the city is going enough to help the sheriff’s office urgent needs.
“Well, this is not a city deal of course, this is the county and this is the Criminal Justice Authority,” Mayor Bartlett said. “And we always would like to see things happen quicker, but it is a government.”
At the meeting we found out the National Institute of Corrections is about two weeks away from releasing a new study examining conditions at the jail.
The Tulsa County Sheriff's office also hired Mayor Dewey Bartlett's former chief of staff Terry Simonson.
Simonson resigned from Bartlett's staff in 2011 after allegations surfaced he tried to use special favors to help his son get on the Tulsa Fire Department.