OKLAHOMA COUNTY – Officials at the Oklahoma County Jail say their population has fallen to the lowest level they’ve seen in years.
Friday, the inmate count stood at 1,952. A number that is down significantly from a high of 2,427 inmates at the beginning of the year.
Officials say the drop in population is a result of a number of programs implemented over the past several months. The programs include working with agencies like the Oklahoma City Police Department, the VERA Institute, and many others, allowing inmates to be released sooner than in the past.
The Oklahoma County Jail has also begun working with the State Mental Health Department to find treatment options for mentally ill inmates.
“This is a result of our staff and the various members of the judicial system working together to solve a problem,” said Undersheriff P.D. Taylor. “We can’t control who comes in here but we can control the options at our disposal to get inmates through the system quicker and out of jail.”
Soon, the Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Office will begin a new program that will allow inmates to complete preliminary hearings by video from the jail. It is expected to reduce the time between inmates’ booking and the time they are eligible for release.
They have also begun to accept Oklahoma City bonds during holidays when their offices are closed.
“All of these efforts are combining to reduce both the population and the amount of days spent incarcerated,” officials said in a press release.