- Associated Press - Thursday, August 17, 2017

TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Tulsa officials are planning to build a city-run jail with operating costs estimated at $1.2 million a year.

Tulsa Mayor G.T. Bynum announced plans for the facility Wednesday, saying the move will also serve as a cost-saving measure against Tulsa County’s soon-to-be increased charges of $1.4 million per year to hold municipal inmates.

The Tulsa World reports the mayor called the move “a business decision,” saying he hopes the city will save up to $300,000 annually by operating its own lockup.

But some county officials saw the proposal as another blow from the city in a decades-long fight over jail costs. Tulsa County Commissioner John Smaligo said he believed the city has been planning to run its own jail and quietly negotiating behind the scenes on how to house its inmates.

“If they wanted to run their own jail, they should have just said so instead of laying behind the log all this time,” Smaligo said.

Bynum’s plan would kick the county out of detention space the city owns at the Tulsa Police-Courts Building adjoined to the county courthouse. Tulsa County currently uses the area as a holding space for jail inmates who don’t yet have court dates.

County commissioners voted last week to extend the daily rate of $69 it charges to hold municipal prisoners in the Tulsa Jail to all municipal inmates. That includes people also being held on state charges.

By charging the city to hold inmates on state and municipal charges - or “mixed” charges - the county would have effectively doubled the amount the city has paid in recent years to use the jail, from about $700,000 to $1.4 million annually, the newspaper reported.

“By establishing our own lockup facility, we’re going to end this annual fight,” the mayor said.


Information from: Tulsa World, https://www.tulsaworld.com

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