An Open Letter to Oklahoma County


Dear Oklahoma County,

It has been a long time since I have written you all but I felt the need to talk to you and share some information with you all. I am a member of the organization that many of you may have seen as opposing the idea of voting yes for a new and larger jail. On June 28th Oklahoma County residents voted yes to approve a vaguely written bond for $260 million. As a member of the People’s Council for Justice Reform, we hosted several townhall meetings to discuss the intricate details about this bond and why we were asking people to vote no. Let me get one detail straight. We are in support of a new and much smaller jail being built because we fully understand that facility is problematic at best, but what we opposed is the creation of a larger jail and building a jail without first building separate mental health and substance abuse facilities, expanding mental health care to existing clinicians and not just the two big agencies in Oklahoma City, creating a revolving bail fund to get nonviolent detainees unable to pay bail out right now, and several other realistic things we can do right now.


That vaguely written proposal states that it literally can be used for various other things, that it will be 10% interest over 30 years, and cost over a $1 billion over that span of 30 years. Also, that $260 million will not be nearly enough to build the larger facility that will house 1800 people or more according to CJAC’s proposals. So, they will pull it from most likely schools, education, roads and bridges, and establish new taxes. We failed as voters and bought into the lies pushed out by the wealthiest people. The numbers I provided came from our forensic accountants and lawyers that advise us. In fact, all of our talking points literally come from records that we have pulled from the state, federal, professional advice, historical evidence, and scientific studies. We have often be told by people not fully understanding the details or those aligned with the wealthy that we are embellishing at the very least. I assure you we tell the truth no matter how hard it is to hear it.



When you have the Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce spearheading the effort to build a new and larger facility one has to question their intentions. They literally were in charge of the commercials and social media which was very on the nose. The wealthiest people in Oklahoma City and maybe this state sit at that table. To briefly explain how the wealthy have taken over our county government it is essentially this: a few years ago, The Oklahoma City Chamber of Commerce decided one day to become the arbiters of truth and justice and become the subject matter experts of justice reform at our county jail. They created The Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Commission (CJAC), and CJAC, in what seems the middle of the night in a back room, came up with the recommendation to create a jail trust. They pitched the idea to our county commissioners and they all three not just the big bad Republicans but Blumert as well voted to hand over our county jail to a pseudo private entity using a state statute for property.


So, our democracy was handed over to wealthy oligarchs by not even a vote of the people. As we have seen the jail trust has done absolutely nothing to fix the problem. CJAC hired everyone, even some community activists, to push their false propaganda that everything that happens in the jail is a physical structural problem or it’s our DA and one judge. It is foolish to think that simplistically about this issue. Over $40 million dollars at all capacities goes into that building yearly. Cities and municipalities pay over $90,000 rent each day to house people there. Yes cities pay rent to keep people there.


We were terrorized by lies and corruption, beaten to submission, and lied to just to give them more money. Here are some facts about the jail. Every agency federal and state that has investigated all say what the victims who we talk to regularly say, that the overwhelming amount of the issues that happen there have nothing to do with the building and everything to do with management and some of the people working there. A building does not beat people, torture them, murder them, not pass out medication, falsify site checks, turn off inmates’ water to punish them, deny showers, not feed, deny feminine hygiene products, and so on. A non-living structure does not commit contractual fraud and violate human and civil rights.


That is all done by people. This is not the Twilight Zone or Harry Potter where buildings are living entities, and it is time to come to reality my fellow citizens. To believe that a building will fix our problems is a pipe dream. You were lied to and now we have to pay the price. This jail is not an erector set and will take 5-6 years to build, and we are on course to losing over 20 people to death this year in that jail. That’s us saying we are okay with 120 plus people being murdered so that we can build a shiny new building to please the wealthy. We have to hold them accountable and see to it that they use these funds appropriately, and not allow them to do what they have done ever since they broke ground in the 1980’s to build this current facility, which is lie and cheat. There is so much evidence of corruption and racketeering that is public, yet to date nothing has happened.



I want to end this on a positive note so that you can understand how we can fix this issue. Our organization and our allies will not be like other folks who eat dinners with these wealthy monsters because we are working with the proper agencies investigating them. We are working with the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) and supplying the state Grand Jury with evidence to hold them accountable.


To close this up I will explain why we are working with the federal government to fix this. The DOJ and the Grand Jury are prosecutorial bodies and we have to work with the agencies to achieve justice. The DOJ has taken over jails in this country already, and one could deduce ours is next. We are advocating for the complete control of the jail under the DOJ, which will do everything from them running it to investigating all leaders elected and appointed who have perpetuated the deadly, unconstitutional conditions in the jail. This is probably why those in power do not want them there. We are collecting evidence and people’s personal stories to supply to the DOJ so you can message us on our Facebook page or email me personally at cjohnston16@uco.edu. We can not expect those who oppress to change, so it is up to us to hold them accountable at all costs. We love you all so much and we will not stop until justice has been achieved. Please make the choice and stand with us and fight back!


With Love,

Christopher Johnston

Member of People’s Council for Justice Reform


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