OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – On Tuesday, the Board of Oklahoma County Commissioners voted to request $110 million in COVID-relief funds from the state legislature to help fund a new $300 million jail.

On Tuesday, the Board of Oklahoma County Commissioners moved forward with funding plans for a new county jail.

They’re asking a joint committee at the Oklahoma State Capitol for $110 million in COVID-relief funds to help build the new $300 million facility. The funds would specifically go toward improving the medical and mental health care at the jail for both county and ODOC inmates.

“I’m hoping that the state will recognize that we’re the largest county by population and that we have also a stake in this as well as they do because they have funds at their disposal, and we have funds that have been given to us also,” Commissioner Brian Maughan, District 2, said.

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Oklahoma County Commissioners

The county already has roughly $150 million in American Rescue Plan Act funds that they’re hoping to also put toward the new jail. But right now, they’re working with a consulting firm to iron out how that money can legally be spent.

“There’s widespread public support on both sides of the political spectrum, if you will, for building a new jail. I think it’s widely recognized, has been for years, and we’ve been under a federal Department of Justice investigation since 2008,” Commissioner Kevin Calvey, District 3, said.

Tuesday’s vote comes just one day after another inmate died inside the jail. It was the second death of 2022.

There were over a dozen deaths inside the jail last year. The jail also lost it’s certification to house juveniles last year, and not too long after that, a grand jury investigation into how the jail is being operated by the county’s Criminal Justice Authority, Jail Trust, began.

“This is the first time, I think in 20 years that we have really got a serious proposal on the table to maybe actually holistically fix the problem that we have suffered from at the jail for many, many decades now,” Maughan said.