CJAC continues to take Oklahoma County in a positive direction
The Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC) delivered its full 2020 Fiscal year report (July 1, 2019–June 30, 2020) that announced the average population of the Oklahoma County Detention Center was 1,624, which continued a two-year trend of keeping the center’s population under 1,700. Three years ago, the center’s population was 2,237 at the end of FY2017.
Throughout 2020, the pandemic disrupted justice systems all over the country and Oklahoma County was no different. Just as with other localities nationwide, the players in the county justice system sought creative ways to prevent the spread of the virus within the system while also balancing public safety.
COVID community restrictions skewed the FY2020 average in part by an unusually low count in April of 1,443. The reopening of businesses and the lessening of health restrictions resulted in the number of June arrests returning to their levels of previous years.
As the chart shows, the work of the CJAC and its partner agencies is taking our community into positive territory. Yet, many CJAC stakeholders believe they can do even more to safely reduce the center’s population and increase the fairness and effectiveness of the county justice system, which is the major task for the CJAC moving into FY2001.
Diversion Hub opens, now servicing community
The Diversion Hub, a comprehensive, one-stop network dedicated to assisting justice-involved individuals in Oklahoma County, is now servicing residents. Despite the COVID pandemic, the Diversion Hub safely opened on June 8 and is actively serving our community. The MAPS 4-funded project harnesses the power of multiple support agencies through combined services. While empowering individuals with life-stabilizing resources, support services (including case management), data integration and coordinated communication under one roof.
The MAPS 4 package included the following projects that will positively affect the county’s justice system: $40 million for mental health and addiction, $17 million for the Diversion Hub, and $50 million to reduce homelessness. Another project to fund youth centers will provide future prevention efforts to assist youth in healthy lifestyle choices redirecting them away from incarceration.
By offering easy-to-access, wrap-around services to low-level offenders, advocates believe the Diversion Hub will relieve pressure on the Oklahoma County jail and provide a clear pathway toward productivity and safety for clients.
To learn more about their services, please visit their website https://okdiversionhub.org/
Installation completed on new jail locks
The jail has been dealing with locks that are constantly being tampered with and damaged. The Sheriff’s Office has repeatedly highlighted the importance of upgrading problematic locks in the facility because of the ease with which they can be tampered or damaged. Focused on finding a solution, the Sheriff’s Office reallocated funding to award a contract for new locks. The newly installed locks will provide a significant upgrade to staff and resident safety. Completed in early 2020, the locks are fully operational.
These locks are unique in that, so far, they have not been defeated in other facilities for many years.