Updated: Jun 19, 2020
Timothy Tardibono, executive director of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council, brings years of experience and a passion for criminal justice reform to his role.
Since 2015, the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber has pushed for criminal justice reform in Oklahoma County and statewide. A key component of reform on a county level is the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC), an interlocal government council designed to institutionalize cooperation and planning for the criminal justice system in Oklahoma County.
The Council was established following a recommendation of the Greater Oklahoma City Chamber’s Criminal Justice Reform Task Force and was called out as the most critical step for reform. In February, the Council selected Timothy Tardibono as the group's first executive director.
Prior to assuming his role with the CJAC, Tardibono was the founder of the Family Policy Institute of Oklahoma. He also served five years as legal counsel to U.S. Senator Tom Coburn, four years as assistant general counsel at the Oklahoma State Department of Health and five years as a policy analyst for Oklahoma’s Secretary of Health and Human Services. As executive director, Tardibono's role is to keep the Council focused on making reforms and cementing them for the future. Read on for more about the Council's criminal justice reform efforts in Oklahoma County in this Q&A with Tardibono.
VELOCITY: WHY IS CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM IMPORTANT TO OKLAHOMA CITY’S FUTURE?
Tardibono: Kris Steele, of the incredible program The Education and Employment Ministry (TEEM), says that there are no spare Oklahomans and he is exactly right. We have seen our city blossom but there is still so much more potential. That goes for our neighbors, too. Our neighbors struggling with substance abuse addiction and mental health challenges need systems set up that give them a second chance to discover their potential while simultaneously holding them accountable. It doesn’t have to be a choice between rehabilitation or accountability, it can be “both and” if we set up the right systems. These neighbors could be contributing to our city’s growth instead of being locked up before they’ve been convicted in a facility that has had serious problems since it opened more than two decades ago. It’s our community and we should foster an environment where we all can succeed.
WHAT ROLE DOES THE CJAC PLAY IN ONGOING REFORM?
In a nutshell, the CJAC exists to investigate and fix problems in the Oklahoma County criminal justice system. The challenge is that the county does not really have an integrated “system,” and traditionally the organizations in the system have not been intentional about collaboration and cooperation. By bringing the key decision-makers in the system together, along with business, civic and faith leaders, the CJAC has all the players in the same room to fix the problems within our county, without waiting on the state or federal government to make changes. Read More at VeloCITY OKC