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Health Inspection Finds Numerous Deficiencies At Understaffed, Malfunctioning Oklahoma County Jail

Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office
Oklahoma County Jail

The Oklahoma State Department of Health’s jail inspectors filed a report detailing numerous deficiencies in the Oklahoma County Jail. The inspectors' feedback paints a clear picture of an understaffed, malfunctioning jail that has recently seen an increase in deaths.

The 38-page report notes many of the problems listed are tied to understaffing at the jail.

Inspectors, who arrived unannounced on February 4, said log books showed detention officers weren’t always doing hourly sight checks which require officers to look into all areas of detainees’ cells.

There were even inconsistencies in the 15 and 30-minute sight checks required for detainees on suicide watch and under observation.

Black mold appeared to be in multiple showers. Inspectors tested detainees’ food and found it was too cold when it reached them.

Some detainees told inspectors they could go over a week without access to showers. In some areas, two to three detainees were held in cells meant for one person.

On Tuesday, the jail was given 60 days to correct the deficiencies listed in the report. If the problems aren’t corrected by then the Oklahoma Commissioner of Health will file a report with the local district attorney or the state Attorney General’s Office.

Saturday's hostage situation at the jail is the latest in a string of incidents that has resulted in the deaths of eight detainees in the last four months.


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Quinton Chandler worked at StateImpact Oklahoma from January 2018 to August 2021, focusing on criminal justice reporting.
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