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New jail solves overcrowding issues, saves county thousands

EL RENO, Okla. – As inmates step off the bus, each step toward the Canadian County Jail is money in the county’s pocket and a step closer to paying off the new facility.

Undersheriff Chris West, with the Canadian County Sheriff’s Office, said, “We were basically contracting with three different counties, Grant, Dewey and Pottawatomie, to house all of our inmates and we’ve got them all back here now.”

For years, Canadian County has dealt with overcrowding issues.

The old jail housed 72 inmates but there are usually around 190 inmates in custody.

West said,  “There was definitely major overcrowding issues that were going on. Not only that the fire marshal was concerned of and the jail inspector, but the sheriff. It was a situation that was bad. That’s why we had to start going out of county.”

The county was forced to pay other counties to house the extra inmates around $20 per inmate, per day.

West said, “So if you’ve got 100 inmates out of county, you’re talking about $2,000 a day and that adds up really quickly.”

However, the new jail was built without a bond.

“There was no bond,” West said. “Actually the county is just building this on county money.”

The new addition is costing the county around $5 million.

The plan is said to keep money in the area and officials hope it will also help pay off the new construction over time.

The new jail facility will house male inmates, while the old jail will house female inmates.