Q&A with Tim Tardibono, Executive Director of the OK County CJAC

A key component of criminal justice reform on a county level is the Oklahoma Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC),

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

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 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. 

Read the entirety of the Q&A on VeloCityOKC.com.