Tulsa County Jail Staffing Down, Budget Problems Continue

Wednesday, August 24th 2016, 1:19 pm
By: Emory Bryan

The Tulsa County jail continues to struggle with the budget, and staffing - two related problems.

The jail administrator would like to have more employees, but Tulsa County says it can hardly the employees it has already.  

Jail staffing is down some, but costs still outrun the money coming in to pay for staff and medical costs for inmates.

Wednesday, the Criminal Justice Authority spent time going over ways to cut costs - everything from energy savings to insurance to moving deputies out - and hiring more lower-paid detention officers.

The jail administrator says it's a constant balance between watching the budget and having enough people to maintain safety - while the budget oversight group can't see an end to the budget issue.

"The jail as far as I can tell, will always have budgetary issues. I don't think we can get away from that because our expenses are outrunning revenue, especially with the sales tax.  I don't think that's going to go away.  What we have to do in the long run is look at different funding sources, that's what we're seeking, we just don't know where that is right now, said Dan Witham with the Sales Tax Overview Committee.

While the budget is a problem now - the Tulsa County jail is about to expand - so they'll need more people to handle extra space and extra inmates, when the new section opens late this year.

5/16/2016 Related Story: Tulsa County Diverts Funds To Finish Over-Budget Jail Expansion