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Criminal Justice

New Report Paints Picture Of An Understaffed, Malfunctioning Oklahoma County Jail

Guards make their rounds on the eighth floor of the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma City.
Brent Fuchs
/
The Journal Record
Guards make their rounds on the eighth floor of the Oklahoma County Jail in Oklahoma City.

The state Health Department’s jail inspectors filed a report detailing numerous deficiencies in the Oklahoma County jail. The inspectors’ feedback paints a clear picture of an understaffed, malfunctioning jail that has recently seen an increase in deaths.

The report is nearly forty pages. It notes many of the problems listed are tied to understaffing at the jail.

Inspectors said log books showed detention officers weren’t always doing hourly sight checks which require officers to look into all areas of detainees’ cells.

There were even inconsistencies in the 15 and 30-minute sight checks required for detainees on suicide watch and under observation.
 
Black mold appeared to be in multiple showers. Inspectors tested detainees’ food and found it was too cold when it reached them.

Some detainees told inspectors they could go over a week without access to showers. In some areas, two to three detainees were held in cells meant for one person.

The jail was given sixty days to correct the deficiencies listed in the report. If the problems aren’t corrected by then the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health will file a report with the local district attorney or the state Attorney General’s Office. 

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