Tulsa County Jail is bursting at the seams with inmates

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Reported by: Sharon Phillips
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.

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The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of KOKI FOX23 - Tulsa

aleman - 12/5/2012 4:27 AM
0 Votes
So the reasoning here is to leave the gangbangers on the streets so as not to fill the jail...?This is what I gleaned from the word salad below,yes being a taxpayer gives me some rights as a judge...kinda tired of paying for other peoples stupidity,the average family makes sacrifices so a criminal can have the finest comforts,yes DUI,speeding,running red lights are a crime,it only takes the death of a loved one to realize this,and if they don't pay their tickets with money they should pay with their time

Mayor Maynot - 12/4/2012 9:47 PM
0 Votes
UnwAshEd Mass (dirty sermon) I bet they did their homework before they broke ground. Just top er with a new level...

Mayor Maynot - 12/4/2012 9:36 PM
0 Votes
aleman wouldn't last long in the prison industry. Work an inmate to death and sustain a few million dollar law suits for cruel and unusual punishment :-) [death sentence for a traffic ticket?] It's good that aleman is only a wannabe judge.

Mayor Maynot - 12/4/2012 9:17 PM
0 Votes
bartlette made his proclamation on his ascension to make every citizen pay. Except for his buddies like Simonson[excused himself from the table after schlepping his family into police academy, nepotism violation, setting wild fire on his tailfeathers stumbled out the door] putting his $@£@R¥ off the rubberband reclamation initiative. One of his first tasks was to get a grant from the DOJ to keep our police officers during budget crunch. Simonson failed in that effort whereas the girlscouts of America succeded. Get a clue. Bartletts lead staff member was a criminal who couldn't function more or as well as Girl Scouts. What's next? Karnak pulls out an envelope that says add on to the jail @:->

aleman - 12/4/2012 4:55 PM
1 Vote
Need to pack 'em in there on one foot centers,feed 'em bread and water,give 'em a ball and chain and make 'em work hard labor

Unwashed Mass - 12/4/2012 12:06 PM
3 Votes
Maybe all those elite squads should have done some research before launching "Operation Fill The Jail With Outstanding Warrants" but it was more important to get the publicity.

Tommy - 12/3/2012 6:52 PM
3 Votes
Jails and prisons should be for violent and and physically dangerous thugs. Others should be working cleaning streets, highways, moving grass etc. Think how much money would be saved?

mustangdriver - 12/3/2012 5:45 PM
2 Votes
At around $30-$40 Million dollars to the taxpayers each year , Tulsa County Jail is a booming business. I'm sure they can figure out their own problems. Best and brightest work there I'm sure of it.

cattleokie - 12/3/2012 5:30 PM
2 Votes
Poor Babies, DO NOT DO THE CRIME & you will not be in there!!!!!!!!!! I say give them an open field & electrify the fence & then lets see how they like it !!!

chocolate390 - 12/3/2012 5:02 PM
1 Vote
i say free those with less of a crime they duin to much
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