County Commissioners denied a request by the Department of Justice to inspect the Oklahoma County jail. The Oklahoma County jail has been under DOJ oversight since 2009 when the federal government discovered 60 civil rights violations.
Since then the DOJ has threatened a federal lawsuit or takeover of the jail if the county doesn’t fix conditions. District 2 Commissioner Brian Maughan says DOJ inspectors have toured the jail many times since 2009.
“What will happen is we’ll either not hear back from them or when we do that doesn’t necessarily release us from those complaints,” he said Tuesday.
Maughan says of the 60 original complaints they have addressed 56. The remaining four can't be fixed at the current jail and taxpayers show no willingness to pay for a new one.
“It’s time to bring this to a head, do this one way or another.”
In a letter to the DOJ, District Attorney David Prater says the Board of Commissioners were not convinced another site inspection "could add anything other than expense without the ability to immediately impact reform efforts."
Maughan says the county has done what they're supposed to do and it's time the DOJ recognizes that.
“With a new Attorney General, this may not be an issue worth continuing to waste federal taxpayer money on continuing to review us like this. They may release us. I think we deserve that.”
Maughan says with the new sheriff there have been improvements in jail population and that should improve conditions there as well.