Public buy-in crucial to Oklahoma County justice reform efforts (The Oklahoman)

The Oklahoman Editorial Board    

A weeklong series of stories in The Oklahoman detailed many of the challenges Oklahoma County faces in trying to improve its criminal justice system, which presently keeps too many people — often nonviolent offenders — in the overcrowded county jail for too long. Given the scope of the problem, any solutions are sure to take time.

And, it's evident that significant changes will require buy-in from the public. We're not talking here about a willingness to pay for a new jail. That idea has been on and off the table for several years. Taxpayers have shown no appetite for writing the check.

Instead, what will be needed is county residents accepting policy changes that could place more offenders back on the street as their cases are litigated instead of keeping them locked up.

In their study of the county's criminal justice system, researchers from the Vera Institute for Justice noted (among many other things) that bail and bond amounts for those brought to the jail are set by a schedule, and recommended allowing judges the discretion to do so based on risk assessments.

Read the entire editorial at

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