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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. 

StateImpact Oklahoma is a partnership of Oklahoma’s public radio stations which relies on contributions from readers and listeners to fulfill its mission of public service to Oklahoma and beyond. Donate online.

Quinton joined the team at StateImpact Oklahoma in 2017, focusing on criminal justice reporting. He is an OSU grad with degrees in Economics and Marketing who got his start in radio at KOSU. After graduation, Quinton served as Morning Edition Host/General Assignment Reporter at KBBI Radio in Homer, Alaska and Education Reporter at KTOO Public Media in Juneau, Alaska. Quinton loves writing, reading and has an intense relationship with his Netflix account.
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