Oklahoma County Jail undergoes renovations to improve safety

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OKLAHOMA CITY - Opened in 1991, the Oklahoma County Jail has housed a million inmates. And, they have taken a major toll on the building.

“In between the walls was supposed to be concrete," said Jail Spokesman Mark Opgrande. "They didn't do that. So, you can get through to the other side.”

Inmates have chipped away at the walls, disassembled furniture and torn down hundreds of lights.

The sheriff is taking advantage of an unusually small jail population to make much needed repairs.

“This is a serious safety concern," Opgrande said. "Absolutely, it's a safety concern.”

It's not only aesthetics.

Inmates are MacGyver-like; creating contraband, from drugs to tattoo guns and more.

“This is a cell phone, one of the smallest we've ever found with an inmate,” Lt. Tiffany Carter told us.

And, worst of all, hundreds of weapons fashioned from light fixtures.

“This is the glass, they get handles and this is an ace bandages from medical," Carter said.

Clearing the cells enables authorities to identify trouble spots like jimmy-rigged doors.

“They can pop out of these things like a jack in the box," Deputy Kendrick Neal told us. "They can do it at will.”

The renovations are to improve everyone’s safety and extend the life of the dilapidated detention center.

“That's the goal," Carter said.

Each pod takes several weeks to renovate. There are 28 pods inside the Oklahoma County Jail.

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