Criminal justice advisory council reports on reform progress
The Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC), an interlocal organization formed to provide oversight and accountability for the local justice system, released its third quarterly report of the fiscal year chronicling the progress being made on justice reform efforts. Since November 2017, the Oklahoma County CJAC has focused on implementing the six key reform recommendations made by the Vera Institute of Justice to the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber's task force on justice reform. Read on for an excerpt of the data found in the CJAC's third quarterly report.
Third Quarter Statistics:
The downward trend for the jail population in the first and second quarters stayed steady in the third quarter. Data now being tabulated as monthly averages shows daily jail populations averaging below 1,750 in January and February and reaching a 3Q low of 1,663 for the March average. The FY18-19 three quarters combined appear to have set a new “normal” for incarceration in Oklahoma County, far below historical numbers.
Third Quarter Highlight:
During the third quarter, three CJAC agencies took critical steps toward upgrading their IT/data systems. The Oklahoma City Police Department started their IT transition to a new records management system. The OK County District Attorney’s Office and Public Defender’s Office worked collaboratively to complete a public bidding process to move forward with an IT system upgrade. The OK County Sheriff’s Office started their IT system upgrade process by putting the finishing touches on a Request for Proposal that should be released to the public soon. The Vera Institute’s December 2016 report noted on p. 10, “Data available for this assessment was severely limited because of current data collection practices and a lack of capacity for data extraction and data sharing.” Although the progress of each of these three agencies does not solve the county-wide problem, the IT upgrades each of these agencies are making enhances the ability to improve our county justice system and better serve our neighbors.
Personnel changes continue to impact the Advisory Council as two members announced their retirement: OKC Police Chief Bill Citty and Midwest City City Manager Guy Henson. Additionally, former OKC Police Chief and current Assistant City Manager M.T. Berry also announced his retirement.
"The contributions of Messrs. Henson, Citty and Berry simply cannot be overstated," the Oklahoma County CJAC quarterly report said. "Their insight and hard work can be seen all over the progress being made in our county toward more fair and effective justice. The Advisory Council expresses its deepest appreciation for their important service."
The retirement of these three key leaders for county justice reform coupled with the change of three others discussed in the second quarter report, (County Commissioner Vaughn, OKC City Manager Couch, Judge Henderson) marks a significant change of personnel since all six served during the task force efforts that eventually created the CJAC.