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Weekend bond release at jail allowed

Just in time for the extended holiday weekend, inmates jailed at the Comanche County Detention Center for some offenses will now be permitted to post bond and be released outside the regular business hours of the courthouse.

Detention Center Director William Hobbs announced Monday that Comanche County District Court judges, the district attorney's office and staff at the county jail recently developed a bail bond release and appearance schedule that was formalized with an administrative order to take effect Thursday. The order will allow inmates arrested for certain misdemeanor offenses to post a pre-determined bond and be released on weekends and holidays, an act that may help reduce overcrowding at the jail.

The county jail has regularly been above capacity for many months due to a variety of factors, including a backlog of criminal trials. It is not intended to serve as a long-term holding facility for inmates to serve their sentences (unless they are directed to serve sentences there), so until an inmate formally charged with a crime has been tried (or enters a plea) and receives a sentence, he or she cannot be transferred to a Department of Corrections facility. Some inmates who cannot afford bond or have been denied bond may stay at the Detention Center for months at a time awaiting their trials or sentencing dates.

Those arrested outside business hours must wait until the courthouse reopens Monday or the day following a holiday to post bonds, often resulting in a surge of inmates during those times. For example, Hobbs said this weekend concluded with 351 inmates, which is well over the 283-person capacity.

The Lawton Constitution

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