Oklahoma County Jail trust to discuss OSDH report, barring them from housing juveniles

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OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority will meet on Monday and according to the agenda, they will discuss and could take action on an inspection report and letter sent to them last week by the Oklahoma State Department of Health, barring them from housing juvenile inmates.

“He had two seizures, stopped breathing for 14-15 seconds, darkening of eyes. I have no clue if he’s alright. He needed to go to the hospital, needed medical response,” Michael Stange told KFOR last week.

Stange contacted KFOR after his cellmate had multiple seizures inside the Oklahoma County Jail on July 4th and he said there was no response from jail staff for quite some time.

“We were banging on the doors. Waiting for the CO’s to come and we really didn’t have any supervision,” Stange said.

Stange is also now covered head to toe in large bed bug bites.

A bed bug infestation is one of the many problems the Oklahoma State Department of Health listed in a non-compliance report sent to the jail earlier this year.

Last week, OSDH sent another non-compliance inspection report and a letter to jail administrators and the jail trust, which operates the jail.

The report lists many “repeat deficiencies,” including a lack of medical and mental health screenings, juvenile inmates only seeing jail staff during meal times, inmates not being fed three meals a day and it found emergency reporting phone systems and intercoms that don’t work.

In the letter, OSDH bars the jail from housing juvenile inmates.

The same day that report was sent to the jail, News 4 obtained exclusive video, showing three inmates cooking food on a makeshift grill inside their cell. They also appear to be smoking a joint.

“You see that? This is how we do this (expletive) up in the county,” one of the inmates is heard saying in the video.

The jail confirmed to KFOR that this video was taken inside an Oklahoma County Jail cell back in May. One of the inmates is now facing a contraband charge.

“I definitely think we need to come up with a better facility, better management,” Stange said.

Jail administrators would not comment on the video. However, they released this statement regarding the OSDH report:

Today, the Oklahoma County Detention Center received a 61-page report from the Oklahoma State Department of Health detailing its findings during an unannounced follow-up visit to the facility.  Of most pressing concern was the determination that the detention center would not retain its certification to house juvenile offenders after this Friday, July 16, 2021.  OCDC administration has begun the process of reviewing and identifying which juveniles this decision will affect and making necessary arrangements to assist its criminal justice partners in finding appropriate placement for them.  As of the time of this press release, only one juvenile meets the statutory definition of a “child” or “juvenile” and will be returned to the Oklahoma County juvenile detention facility as soon as possible before the OSDH deadline.

The remainder of the report will be reviewed over the coming days by OCDC administration.  “We remain committed to making all necessary repairs to the facility to improve the safety and quality of life for all who work and live within its walls, said Greg Williams, jail administrator. “While the staff and contractors have worked diligently and over long hours to make the infrastructure improvements that are already completed, there is much more to be done.  Decades of  physical plant neglect and poor construction cannot be overcome in a few months.  I am proud of the work the staff, along with our external partners like Oklahoma County, has completed in such a short timeframe.”

According to OCDC Chief Operations Officer William Monday, a review of the report identifies some deficiencies that the facility does not agree are accurate, and OCDC will be researching the proper process by which to discuss those inaccuracies with the Department. “Although we acknowledge the many issues we face at the detention center, we want to make sure everyone is focusing attention on the correct problems.  No one wants this place to be in the best possible condition it can be more than we do. “  

Oklahoma County D.A. David Prater also released a statement on Tuesday:

“The Oklahoma Health Department’s report further verifies the Trust’s inability to safely and appropriately operate the Oklahoma County Jail. I am again calling for the dissolution of the Trust and for the jail’s operation to revert back to the Sheriff where it should be pursuant to the Oklahoman Constitution.”

On Monday, the jail trust will meet for their regularly scheduled meeting at 1 p.m. and they are expected to discuss and possibly take action on the OSDH report, according to their agenda.

Officials at the jail have told KFOR numerous times that they are actively working on getting rid of the bed bug problem. They’re currently working on plans to construct a building behind the jail where they will apply heat to bed bug infested items that will kill the larva.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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