Oklahoma County Incarceration Rate for Drug Charges Has Skyrocketed

April 22, 2008

Only eight counties in the United States exceed the incarceration rate for Oklahoma County. A study by the Justice Policy Institute indicates that the number of people sent to county jails in the United States has nearly doubled over the last two decades. But the number of prisoners booked into the Oklahoma County Jail rose about 53 % from 2001 to 2006, a faster rate than every major county jail in the United States.

Now it is not as crowded, thanks to a court decision that removed from the Jail several hundred state inmates who were in the custody of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. Also credited are District Attorney David Prater’s efforts to speed up prosecutions.

The Oklahoma County Jail has a capacity for 2,850 prisoners. It was overfull before, but the average daily inmate population in the past few weeks was averaging between 2,900 to 2,400 inmates.

Running the jail costs more than the money applied to the Jail by the Oklahoma County Commissioners, so the Jail houses city, state and federal inmates, for which the Jail is paid by other those other governmental entities. The Oklahoma County Sheriff had an operating projected cost of $27 million in 2007. About 78% of that budget goes to operating the Jail.

The Oklahoma County Jail booked 38,296 people into the Jail in 2007. Of that number, 66% were for drug charges. That is a lot more than the national figure of ¼ of inmates booked into jail in 2002, and a whole lot more than the figures in 1983 when only 9% of the national jail inmates faced drug charges.

All of these factors point out how critical it is today to get the best legal help you can if you or someone you know is accused of a drug offense. That’s why I urge you to visit my site at http://www.netlegalhelp.com to learn how to choose the right lawyer for your case, as well as ordering our “Protect Your Freedom” Kit to educate you about critical issues you need to know about.