The percent of Tulsa Jail bookings involving warrants issued for inmates’ failures to pay court fines and fees has more than tripled during the past decade, reports the Tulsa World. Of 1,700 inmate bookings in July 2004, 8 percent involved warrants for failure to pay costs. That rose to 29 percent in July 2013.
The problem of overcrowding at the Tulsa Jail has grown worse in recent years, Tulsa County Undersheriff Tim Albin said. He points to bookings for “fines and fees” as one factor. Average daily inmate population exceeded 1,800 last month. The jail is full at 1,650. Officials deny they are running a “debtor’s jail,” but “the cheapest traffic ticket we write is $160,” Albin said. “People are struggling. There’s not a lot of income. And that has a cascading effect.”