The diversion programs and partners working with the Oklahoma County jail say the goal of the work they are doing is to help Oklahoma stop topping national lists for incarceration through work on the front end of the criminal justice process.
The Greater Oklahoma City Chamber hosted a panel discussion Wednesday to educate community members and business leaders on the efforts of the Diversion Hub, The Education & Employment Ministry (TEEM), drug court and other diversion programs operating through the local criminal justice system.
According to Timothy Tardibono, executive director of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council, the jail population has been reduced by about 1,000 people with the bulk of that reduction occurring since 2017 thanks to investment in diversion programs.
"We know that treatment works, rehabilitation works. People can be redeemed and restored and moved in the right direction,” Tardibono said. “And I think in Oklahoma a lot of times we don't believe that.” Read more from JaNae Williams at The Oklahoman