Tulsa criminals going free, bail bondsmen calling for reforms

Thursday, July 27th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Tulsa-AP) -- A pretrial release policy at the Tulsa Jail that's freeing hundreds of criminals has bail bondsmen calling for reforms. Under the policy, defendants arrested for certain crimes can be released without a cash or property bond. All they need to get out of jail is a promise that they'll show up for court.

Scott Waugh is president of the Tulsa Bail Bondsmen Association. Waugh says more than 200 of 5,000 defendants released in1998 remain fugitives and are out there committing the same crimes for which they were arrested.

Kevin Francis is the director of the county's pretrial release program. Francis says the problem is the background checks that the jail performs only look at Tulsa County records. Arrests in other counties won't show up on the jail's checks. He says his office nor employees of Corrections Corporation o America - which operates the jail - has access to a national crime database. Francis says the county is looking at providing jail employees access to the crime database.