Jail Trust holds meeting after Saturday’s hostage situation at Oklahoma County Detention Center

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma County Jail Trust held a special meeting after Saturday’s hostage situation at the Oklahoma County Detention Center that left an inmate dead.

“Do you feel you have adequate staff to do the wellness checks, the shower schedule, the food schedule, the exercise schedule and the visitation schedule at this time?” trustee Frances Ekwerekwu asked Jail Administrator Greg Williams.

“No,” Williams replied.

Williams says they’re trying to recruit more staff members.

“We have a job fair scheduled that is taking place in April,” he said.

An image of an inmate holding an Oklahoma County Detention Center correctional officer hostage.

He says staff members have been offered mental health support after the hostage situation Saturday. 

Public commenters, however, say not enough is being done for the well-being of inmates.

“You don’t have adequate staffing Mr. Williams, to go and check on human beings after a slaughter,” activist Michael Washington said.

Inmates recorded last week’s hostage situation using a smart phone taken from the detention officer who was held hostage. They said in the video that they were being forced to live in squalid conditions.

Photo goes with story
An inmate complains on camera about squalid conditions at the Oklahoma County Detention Center while a detention officer is being held hostage.

The Jail Trust says 68 Oklahoma Department of Corrections employees have been brought in to help.

There were some concerns with the cost, but the Trust attorney says it’s essentially an “agreement to agree,” with no cost now. 

The jail’s medical provider, Turn Key, is threatening to cancel their contract if staffing numbers don’t increase.

“We have worked with Turn Key to change how our medication is being passed out, be more efficient on each pod,” Williams said.

Activists say they just want to see more change.

“What we’re trying to do is trying to get closure with respect to possible changes that could be made to the jail house,” Washington said.

“We are going to implement change,” Ekwerekwu said.

The Trust also voted to accept an inspection report from the State Department of Health Chair Tricia Everest, saying the specifics to address it may come at the next meeting.

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