Oklahoma City

Jail study ‘listening session’ shows divide between consultants, residents – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

Oklahoma City, Oklahoma 2021-10-11 21:39:41 –

Oklahoma City (Free press) — The leader of the second listening session on a possible solution for the problematic Oklahoma County Detention Center or Prison noticed that he was facing an angry crowd on Thursday night.

The presentation part of the session by the panel on possible solutions took 1 hour and 10 minutes of the time presented and the 30 minute session, without the participants preparing a time frame.

For at least half of the crowd, it seemed like a deliberate effort to force them to “listen” to the ideas of the architectural firms hired to do extensive research on the problems and possible solutions. I gave the general opinion only a short time.

“You lost me tonight,” said attendee Sean Cummings during the three minutes. “You really lost me.”

“You asked many victims and survivors of this county prison to come here and discuss the county prison, and we are here,” said Sarah Bana. “Instead, you used, abused, and sacrificed us, so you can pitch!”

After all, the moderator gave everyone a turn to speak and went beyond the time frame of the announced meeting.

But when the members of the panel started talking again, some attendees said they “heard enough,” and a significant portion of the crowd just stood up and left the meeting.

In the comments, some in the crowd said the solution had already been decided and would benefit the architect more than anyone else.

In contrast to the first session on August 12, participants were given enough time to express their concerns and seemed to leave with the feeling that many participants had heard of it. was.

Watch the event’s coverage: Pain and anger dominate the public listening session at Oklahoma County Prison

It didn’t go the same way on Thursday night.

Agreed on the issue

Critics and those involved in the solution business agree on one thing. Prisons must undergo serious changes.

In a comment from the panel, Senator Michael Brooks, a lawyer who had a client in prison, said it “just got worse” despite everything that was done to improve the condition of the prison. rice field. “There is a defect from the beginning.”

Frank Turner, in the field of mental health, was another panelist who made it clear that prisons couldn’t continue as they were.

“One of the things I can say is that I know what’s wrong with the prison. Almost nothing is right about the prison,” Turner said.

Candace White participates in ReMerge, a diversion and rehabilitation program. She was on the panel and talked about the inhumane situation of the prison as someone who was there. She provided her perspective as a person who was able to survive the prison cycle through the ReMerge program.

White said the entire prison organization had staffing issues with prison staff that they did not understand due to their youth and lack of deeper training.

“… they treat people like animals-so they don’t matter,” White said.
“And that’s just … I hate it. I’ve been treated that way. You know, I’m a recovery addict, I’ve been clean for two years now. And I’ve been clean for over 20 years I’m crazy about stimulants.

Possible solutions

The solutions proposed to the session after about 25 “stakeholder” meetings with various groups are:

Improve access for arrested persons

  • To visitors
  • To a lawyer
  • To the detour program
  • To medical and mental health care
  • To treatment and addiction program
  • To the educational program
  • To justice and support services
  • To recreation
  • In sunlight

The rest of the presentation on Thursday was about how Oklahoma County will proceed to achieve these goals. John Semtner of FSB Architects led that part of the session. He is hired as an investigative consultant, and FSB consulting firm Jeff Bradley of HOK specializes in the design of courts, criminal laboratories, police stations, prisons, prisons, and government buildings.

The main trend in these two comments was that prisons need to be the place where the process of expediting people out of prisons should take place.

The next slide shows how the prison is expected to work with a new design and a new process performed by staff.

Still, they have identified issues that go beyond the power of prison trusts and are really relevant to other parts of the government and the community.

The design of the new facility is favored by consultants who specialize in the construction of new buildings. This is an aspect that will not be lost to attendees who criticized the presentation as helping the two consulting firms in their greatest financial interests.

Each of the three options, estimated at about $ 350 million, involves purchasing land north of the existing prison campus to reserve space for a vast three-story facility. ..

Another panelist was Dunst Logan, Executive Director of the Oklahoma City Homeless Alliance. He sought a comprehensive approach.

“As a community, we can fix processes and prisons, and that’s what we have to do,” Straughan said.


In general, commenters criticized the proposal to assume that there are still more than the same number of arrests due to population growth.

Attendees were there to claim that the current conversion system was not fully utilized. Not only do they need to reform the judicial system itself, but they also need to reform the way people are arrested and put in jail for many needs that could otherwise be met without arrest and prosecution. Insisted.

Kris Steele, Secretary-General of the Ministry of Education and Employment (TEEM), has been working on the criminal justice reform of Oklahoma for many years.

He was one of the people who spoke during public comment time.

“In honor, for architects, saying that a prison built a few years ago wasn’t big enough may be the most disappointing I’ve ever heard,” Steele said. rice field. “It’s not that the prison wasn’t built big enough. It imprisons too many people. We have to move away from that idea. There is a difference between accountability and punishment. I need to understand. “

And, contrary to the basic design elements proposed in the architect’s presentation, Steele understands that “the diversion program should not be done in detention centers, but should be designed to be done in the community. “.

Steele and other commenters pointed out that the problem was that the conversion program was not being used.

Another commentator said, “The prison in Oklahoma County is a small piece of hell.”


Thursday’s session was clearly a setback for an organizational group called the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Board (CJAC). This is a project of the Oklahoma Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce. It was established to find a solution to what most parties believe is an unacceptable situation in current prisons.

The idea of ​​CJAC was to establish the Oklahoma County Prison Trust and hand over the prison to the trust. This was done by the Commissioner of Oklahoma County in a considerable amount of controversy reported by FreePress for over a year.

CJAC is made up of community leaders, arguably wealthy people, police officers, judges, and others who are part of the mental health activities of Oklahoma County.

The impact of the wealthiest people in the community on CJAC and prison trusts is not lost to those who defend the poorest people in the community.

Snuggling up to these wealthy people on Thursday night, Sarah Bana suggested, “If CJAC wants a new prison, let them build it.” There was a big applause and scream in the comment.

Questioned trust organization

Mark Faulk, a well-known activist at OKC, accused CJAC of being “not a real organization.” He claimed in his statement that the prison trust was “illegal” because people did not have the opportunity to vote for it.

However, CJAC organizer Chamber of Commerce staff Timothy Tardivono told Free Press that in fact, the types of prison trusts are legal.

Mr Tardibono said the prison trust was organized as a “allowing the appointment of citizens” title 60 trust. He said the CJAC did not recommend the Oklahoma County Commissioner to organize a trust under Title 19. parallel.

However, the optics of the unvoted trust continues to create friction with certain elements of the actively involved civilian, showing no signs of disappearing.

As one person told Free Press after the meeting, “I would rather have the county sheriff take charge of the prison. At least we would choose that position.”

We asked Tardi Bono to answer some questions about the future of the session and its involvement with the general public on this issue.

Include this Q and A along with the original question and the complete answer to ensure that his answer is completely within the context of the question we asked. Thank you for your willingness to answer these questions.

Q & A with Timothy Tardibono

  1. Why did the meeting, which was announced to last an hour and a half, took more than an hour?

Tardibono: It was never our intention to be too long. However, the problems faced by county detention centers are multifaceted and involve the criminal justice process before, during, and after a person’s stay in a detention center. It’s not just the building, but the devastation and poor design of the building makes it very difficult to serve arrested people. We clearly made the mistake of over-sharing information rather than not providing enough information to the public.

  1. Did you expect that when the presenter seemed to be out of time, those who came out ready to contribute would be upset?

Tardibono: We realized that time could be tight and overkill, and the church agreed to go later than 8:30 pm, which we are grateful for. I should have made it clearer to the audience. Everyone who talked side by side had the opportunity. But I will be better in the future.

  1. Do you already have a plan for what will happen in the next prison? That seems to have been a part of the impression.

Tardibono: Absolutely not. Proposals have not been improved and improved, and feedback has not been obtained. There are a few steps left. When we outlined the next steps, we were pretty clear at the end, and we expect further revisions along the way.

  1. What happens in the next process?

Tardibono: After further tweaking the options, the full CJAC will see further updates later this month and will start narrowing down the options if possible. The consultant team then receives the feedback and proceeds to the final stage of the option. Prior to the Thanksgiving Day, CJAC makes recommendations given to county officials. The CJAC will then be able to provide further support while continuing to focus on improving the criminal justice process.

Last updated: October 11, 2021 8:39 pm Brett Dickerson – Editor

Jail study ‘listening session’ shows divide between consultants, residents Source link Jail study ‘listening session’ shows divide between consultants, residents

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