Commissioner calls for change after jail audit reveals people mistakenly jailed

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OKLAHOMA COUNTY, Okla. - County Commissioner Kevin Calvey said he heard rumors about what was going on inside the Oklahoma County Jail, but he says a recent audit performed by the public defender confirms his worst fears.

"Obviously this is a significant problem. It's not the first instance," said Commissioner Calvey.

The search unveiled found inmates who shouldn’t have been in jail.

"There were three names that we gave the judge that based on our inventory that were inappropriately in jail or had not timely seen a judge," said Oklahoma County Public Defender Bob Ravitz. "This is something that unfortunately has existed forever."

One of those people caught in the discrepancies is Giselle Perez. She lost her job during the two weeks she sat in the jail. When she was released, deputies informed her the warrant for her arrest was dismissed.

"I was thinking that I just did those fourteen days for nothing," Perez said. "That's scary. They could have gotten me locked up for a longer time and just forgotten about me and then you can't do nothing about it."

Officials with the OCSO say the problem is a communication issue between agencies.

"It's probably someones human error somewhere that someone did not take it out of the system," explained Mark Opgrande with the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office. "This is a system-wide issue that we all deal with, the Public Defender's Office, the District Attorney's Office, the courts and us. So what we're trying to do is to be able to make sure that everyone specifically has a system that we can all talk together with in order to make sure that if the ball gets dropped along anywhere along the system, another agency can pick it up."

Opgrande says the sheriff's office is looking to upgrade their system. Meanwhile Commissioner Calvey wants to see more effort being put forth to enact change.

"You can't just blame this on a computer system, someone has to enter the data in there," he said. "It seems incumbent at least in part on the sheriff`s office to know who's in there and who hasn't been to court. So, I think there are some serious concerns with the operation of the jail."

Commssioner Calvey points out that last month he tried to do an inmate count at the jail but says he was shut down by the sheriff. Now, he's calling for better oversight, accountability and transparency.

The public defender and sheriff plan to conduct similar audits every two months to prevent any more people from falling through the cracks.


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