ANOTHER accidential release from Tulsa Co Jail

Monday, June 4th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

There's been yet another accidental release at the Tulsa County jail. This is the third time in six weeks that they've let somebody go who was supposed to be behind bars. KOTV's Lori Fullbright explains what happened this time.

It seems hard for people to believe that this could keep happening, but the jail leaders say of the four accidental releases that were their fault; three of them can be traced to one person. First, it was the ponytail bandit in mid-May, but CCA managers say that time; the feds were to blame for not getting proper paperwork to them in time. Next, there was accused child molester Clifford Meano, Jr., a few of his charges were dropped, the booking supervisor thought they all had been and let him out. Now, there's Donald Manning, a man in jail on two marijuana charges, one charge was dropped and the same booking supervisor made the same mistake and let him go.

The trouble is, Manning was let go on May 25th, the jail only found out now because Manning actually showed up for his court appearance last Thursday, that new paperwork is what alerted the jail that they'd let Manning go by mistake. Marvin Branham, CCA: "All we can say is we'll take every step to eliminate human error. But, as long as we have humans in the process, we have that possibility. We can only do our best to prevent it." Branham says the booking supervisor involved in the past two bad releases was put on four days suspension and taken out of booking and now has a hearing on Wednesday about his job's future. "I don't know anyone who's more frustrated than the people in booking and release."

The jail in Collin County, Texas was one of the models used when Tulsa County selected CCA to run the jail, they report two bad releases in the past three years, however, they have about 15,000 releases a year, CCA in Tulsa had 35,000 releases. Of the 11 bad releases from CCA in the past two years, the jail admits fault in four of them. But, say that's still not good enough. "Zero bad releases is the goal."

Tulsa Co Sheriff Stanley Glanz says comparing his release record to CCA's would be comparing apples to oranges, since he had inmates in three different locations and three times the transfer rate.

Tulsa County commissioner John Selph talked with KOTV and told us this latest release is unacceptable. He says he's having a proposal drafted to present to the other members of the jail authority that would allow them to fine CCA for accidental releases and even when someone who is supposed to be released, isn't let out on time. He says clearly, communication needs to be improved between all the different agencies.