In a public notice, neighbors have been advised that an application for a Transitional Living Facility to house 40 to 50 convicted individuals at 5707 South Memorial has been filed. A special meeting has been schedulefd for 1:00 pm on August 22, at the Tulsa City Hall, Council Chambers. Written comments are also welcomed by email to email@example.com, Case Number BOA-23549.
Melissa Ethridge-Jack posted publicly Monday the following letter to the Tulsa Planning Commission:
I am a home-bound individual that is unable to attend the meeting regarding a proposed [Department of Corrections] DOC halfway house located at 57th & Memorial.
I worked in the mental health and substance abuse field for about ten years. The facility where I worked maintained contractual obligations with Oklahoma State Probation & Parole and US Federal Probation & Parole. Depending on the parolees’ status determined which facility they were allowed to be housed in and yes, we had parolees that broke the terms of their contractual obligations and were taken back to prison. As an individual whose life has been affected personally by substance abuse and worked in the field; I am able to give a realistic viewpoint on this issue.
One of our facilities was located in downtown Tulsa within an older apartment complex that my employer had acquired many years before my employment. Each unit could house two DOC clients. Clients had to have employment, attend recovery meetings, submit to random urinalysis testing, meet with their counselor, and staff assisted each housed DOC client put aside money from their payroll for any court fees, rent fees, and savings.
I am all for giving individuals another chance but this type of facility DOES NOT belong at 57th & Memorial. Generally, people that are in recovery from substance abuse have disgusting habits. We have the beautiful and serene Memorial Park Cemetery to the north of this proposed facility and to the south we have the lovely Schaudt’s Funeral Home. Individuals typically leave their trash on the ground, This means walking through a lot of cigarette butts. wadded up cigarette packs, candy wrappers, coffee cups, drink cups, etc. Two of my major concerns is that there will be a “trashing up” of the funeral home and let us not forget those who are famous and held in high regard are buried in the beautiful Memorial Park Cemetery.
We have two schools in our neighborhood. A big concern is those who could possibly be a pedophile that have flown under the wire. Someone that has never gotten caught so they are not in the database. I am not comfortable with school and convicts in the same breath.
This facility will create a lot of foot traffic because most convicts do not have access to personal transportation. We are within walking distance of restaurants and QuikTrips.
This type of facility needs to exist but in a business district zoned for this type of program. Why in the world can the powers that be not come up with building an apartment complex large enough to house 50 to 100 DOC clients? There really is a simple solution to the greater problem and Jesus’ people or whoever still gets the contract gets pay-rolled.
Respectfully, James L. Jack and Melissa J. Ethridge-Jack
Other posters then added their voices.
Sungate said, “I’m concerned about the fact that it’s within 2 blocks of our neighborhood elementary and middle schools.”
Becky Ferguson wrote, “These are great in theory, but it seems as if the problem comes from monitoring, supervision and accountability. From what I understand the “house monitor” is usually a tenant that has been there and has shown some type of accountability. However it doesn’t seem as if that works well.”
Angie Belton, Woodland View posted, “We already have 4 halfway houses in our neighborhood, enough.”
Editor’s Note: A version of this story first published on CityNewsTulsa.com here.