THE VILLAGE, Okla. (KFOR) – The Village will no longer take their municipal offenders to Oklahoma County jail after entering new jail services contract with Midwest City.
The Village Oklahoma City voted unanimously Monday night to enter a new jail services contract with Midwest City, which means all municipal offenders in The Village will be sent to the Midwest City jail instead of the Oklahoma County jail.
“I don’t want that on my watch, I don’t think anybody on the council wants that on their watch for somebody to be arrested in the village for whatever the municipal offense is and then die from it,” said The Village Mayor Sonny Wilkinson. “It’s just not worth it.”
Wilkinson said the council has discussed making the move for a full year.
“The council’s priority is not sending somebody to the county jail,” Wilkinson said.
All council members are in full agreement with him.
“I think putting people in the county jail is almost like putting a clock on someone’s life,” said Vice Mayor of the Village Adam Graham.
“I feel, sends a very clear message to the Oklahoma County Jail that they need to get their act together,” said Ward 4 Councilwoman Cathy Cummings.
Last month, the state health department inspection led to the county jail losing their certification to house juveniles, partially due to a long list of repeat deficiencies.
The Village city manager said during the meeting that it will cost a little more to take offenders to Midwest City.
In a memo, he said if offenders are sent to Midwest City instead of the Oklahoma County jail “the detainees are far less likely to die while in custody.”
“The reality is it’s a human being, they have dignity,” Wilkinson said. “We need to recognize that and we need to send them into a safer situation.”
Oklahoma County jail officials sent KFOR a statement reading that “The Village has every right to take their inmates anywhere they feel appropriate.”
The Village sends roughly 10 people per year to the jail, but Cummings said that’s 10 too many.
“I call on other Oklahoma County municipalities to basically go on strike against the Oklahoma County Jail,” Cummings said. “I would like to ask them to please join us in preventing these human rights abuses.”
This only applies to municipal offenders. Anyone arrested on state and federal charges will still have to go to the Oklahoma County jail.
Wilkinson said he plans to put this into effect as soon as possible.