Work has begun on the Tulsa Sobering Center, a new jail diversion program.
The facility itself is being built using private funding at 12 And 12’s headquarters. The City of Tulsa will spend $250,000 a year for the addiction recovery program to operate it.
The Tulsa Sobering Center will let up to 25 men and 17 women at a time stay for 10 hours if they’ve been picked up for public intoxication and are non-combative. Men and women will be in separate areas.
“During their stay, we will provide them with food, a place to rest and, at their discretion, information about and access to counseling and rehabilitation programs for substance use,” said 12 And 12 CEO Bryan Day.
After someone is released from the sobering center, a cab will take them where they want to go. They will not face charges or have a recorded arrest.
Mayor G.T. Bynum said the cost is well worth it, as the sobering center will take in a lot of people that currently go to jail.
“Over half of the people that we are and have been incarcerating on municipal charges are there for public intoxication,” Bynum said.
Police officers will be able to drop off drunk people they pick up and get back on the streets.
Bynum thanked city councilors for allocating money to the sobering center.
“You know, in city government, every dollar that you’re spending on one thing isn’t getting spent on something else. We have to have a balanced budget every time. And so, putting that together was a recognition that this is a higher priority than so many other things that we could be doing,” Bynum said.
The Tulsa Sobering Center will be open 365 days a year for Tulsa Police Department use. It will not be open to the public.
Original Public Radio Tulsa Article can be found by clicking here.