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State Lawmaker Asks AG Garland To Intervene In Oklahoma County Jail

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Ryan LaCroix
/
KOSU
Oklahoma County Jail

An Oklahoma lawmaker has asked U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland for help improving the Oklahoma County jail. Rep. Jason Lowe of Oklahoma City believes federal intervention is necessary to solve the jail’s long standing problems.

Lowe, who is also a criminal defense attorney, said in a letter to Garland that he visits the Oklahoma County Detention Center weekly. Lowe said the jail is unsanitary and there isn’t enough access to medical care.

He said detainees' constitutional rights are being violated – a point the Department of Justice has also made in the past.

The jail saw a rash of detainee deaths in the months after a public-private trust took over operations from the county sheriff.

There was a hostage takeover in late March and this month prosecutors charged four detention officers for assaulting detainees. One of the assaults happened during the former sheriff’s tenure.

Lowe said the jail is in crisis and more dangerous now than when it was operated by the sheriff. He asked Garland to intervene immediately.

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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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