OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – Renovations at the Oklahoma County Detention Center have just begun. On Thursday, KFOR got a tour of inside the jail to see what’s being done.
Problems have plagued the facility for years, including a bedbug infestation.
Finished cells have been painted, sprayed and sanitized. Inmates also have new mattresses. The jail said these measures they’re taking will keep up with health department standards.
“There’s a lot of dirt and grime on the floors we’re constantly dealing with,” said Brandi Garner, interim CEO of the Oklahoma County Detention Center.
Interim CEO of the Oklahoma County Detention Center, Brandi Garner said inmate population is low enough to start improvements.
“What we’re doing is we’re repairing all of the cells, any of the maintenance issues, and we’re getting them sanitized,” said Garner.
In addition, Garner said this will also help combat the ongoing bedbug problem.
A State Health Department report from July cited ten inmates who complained of bites and bedbugs spotted both dead and alive.
“They’re sealing up the back wall that faces the outside, and then they’re painting all of the cells. This addresses a number of the issues that were cited by the health department, including the bedbug issues, because it fills up the pores in the concrete so they can’t harbor and nest in there and it increases the foot candles,” said Garner.
There’s also a new sanitizing team aimed at keeping the facility in line with the health department guidelines.
“They get excited to cell clean. So, I think the new paint and all that, it’s going to make them feel better… The new mats and the new paint and the new floors that it changes the look of everything and the feeling,” said Christina Locke-Leniger, on sanitizing team at jail.
Last November, the jail failed another state health inspection with over 40 violations.
A part of the state’s report said, “Visible signs of uncleanliness, build-up of dirt, debris, and black residue.”
The CEO said this renovation will address that.
“Overall, I think the quality of life and mental health of our population will improve,” said Garner.
Renovations are underway on a single pod right now. Officials hope to have the entire building finished by the end of this year.
“It hasn’t taken that long to do everything… I think that the prep process is probably the longest part because you have the tape, everything off that’s not going to get painted,” said Locke-Leniger.
The jail also said they are looking at options to provide community service hours by coming in and assisting with this to help get the job done more quickly. They are hoping for that to be approved in the coming weeks.