The county jail is at a capacity Claremore City Council called critical.

"We're continuing to look at the capacity of the jail. It was originally built for 250, last week the capacity of the jail went to 312," said Mayor Bill Flanagan.

He said a committee consisting of the district attorney, judges, jail authority, county commissioners and the City of Claremore is looking at the problem.

"We are trying to change the procedures in the court system to move people through, to keep people out that don't belong there, to keep people in, and see what our capacity is," Flanagan said.

"But as of right now we are having a real problem keeping it below 300."

In the future, Flanagan said, something may have to be done but for now they're reviewing the entire process—leaving nothing unexamined.

"The public defenders office has been at the table, too. So there's been conversation with the judges, prosecution and defense attorneys trying to find a resolution to how to deal with this," said City Manager Jim Thomas. "We just can't afford to spend another $20 million for another jail."

Thomas said that's part of why the city is master-planning their 95-acre property to "maybe have a place to house not-as-critical inmates."

"There's a lot of dialogue. We've been talking for a year. We just can't afford another jail," Thomas said.

Flanagan said Rogers County is home to some 93,000 people but the majority of the inmates occupying the beds at the jail are from outside the county lines.

"I was told most of them are from Tulsa," said city councilor Susan Kirtley.

Thomas and Flanagan agreed.

"The criminal element is coming from Tulsa," Thomas said. "This is a pretty peaceful county…they're coming from Tulsa and some of the rougher counties."

The committee is reviewing the booking process, bond, pre-release programs and any other avenues they can to reduce jail population.

Thomas told the council Monday night that his recent tour of the jail was a nerve-wracking one. He said he'd never been in a jail, let alone an over-crowded one.

Councilor Will DeMier said the solution is simple, "Just don't commit crime."

He said the problem is also a compliment to local law enforcement.

"Our police department and sheriff's department are very active, they catch a lot of bad guys," DeMier said. "It sends a message, don't come to Rogers County to commit a crime."

Ultimately, Flanagan said he just wanted the council to be aware of the problem and know the committee is searching for a solution.

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