Jail task force calls addiction, mental health services crucial

by Jaclyn Cosgrove 

OKLAHOMA CITY - A new jail will not fix Oklahoma County's problems.

That is one of the key points in a report released Wednesday by the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce's criminal justice reform task force.

"If nothing is done to address the systemic drivers of jail overcrowding described in this report," the report notes, "any new facility, regardless of its size, will experience the same problems as the current facility."

City leaders hosted a news conference Wednesday at the Oklahoma City police headquarters to outline the findings of the task force, which started its efforts last December.

The task force was born out of concerns over conditions and overcrowding at the Oklahoma County jail, which prompted an investigation from the U.S. Department of Justice.

Business leader and Thunder Chairman Clay Bennett, who led the chamber's task force, said at Wednesday's press conference that Oklahoma leaders must address not only infrastructure and communication issues but also how to fund treatment for Oklahomans with mental illness and substance use disorders.

Read the rest of the story at newsok.com

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