Biding Time (Part I): Maximum Security for the Innocent and Low Risk (The Oklahoman)

The Oklahoma County jail is overcrowded. The criminal justice system is underfunded. County officials are struggling to remedy the situation.

Clothed in an orange jail uniform. Under the watchful eye of detention officers. In a dreary courtroom at the bottom of the 13-story Oklahoma County jail.

Brandi Davis, her dark brown hair threaded with streaks of purple and her arms etched by addiction, sits here 38 days after her arrest. She stole a $24 hoodie from an Oklahoma City department store, to exchange for heroin.

When stopped by security, Davis turned over an empty syringe. Authorities charged her with felony larceny from a retailer. Davis also has a warrant out of Cleveland County for possession of controlled dangerous substances. Because of prior convictions, the 35-year-old Oklahoma City resident faces up to life in prison.

Davis tells a reporter she hasn’t asked family to pay her $400 bail on a $4,000 bond. Instead, she’s praying for a spot in a substance abuse diversion program. It may be her last chance to kick a 15-year-old opioid and heroin habit and reunite with her 10-year-old daughter.  

“I need help more than I do prison, so I’m OK with sitting here for a couple months if I have to, to get it,” Davis says.  

She is among thousands each year who languish in Oklahoma County’s criminal justice system.

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