New Jail Admin. Outlines Goals, Challenges Ahead Of Takeover

Wednesday, June 17th 2020, 9:13 am
By: Storme Jones

The Oklahoma County Jail will be under new leadership July first and for the first time in 130 years, that leader will not be the Oklahoma County Sheriff.

The jail trust will assume jail operations under jail administrator Greg Williams.

“This is not a takeover, this is a hand-off,” Williams said. “On a personal level, I am way, way ready.”

The trust selected Williams seven months ago and Sheriff P.D. Taylor demanded he and the trust take over sixth months ago in January.

Before being selected to oversee the jail, Williams worked for nearly 37 years at the Oklahoma Department of Corrections. He said he has identified areas at the jail he will be able to make instant changes.

“Food service is really needing some improvement,” He said. “A lot of the equipment is broke, nearly all of the equipment is broke. The food quality is really not very good.”

Williams said he is bringing in a new service provider to increase the food standards.

He said it’s about more than food, but treating people with dignity. 

“Our self-esteem and how we view ourselves and how we view the world, a lot is how people treat us.” He said. “It's important that we don't treat people any worse than what they deserve to be treated. I think people need to be treated better.”

On the food front, Williams said he will also be providing jail employees a place to eat lunch. He said currently they either don’t eat or must leave the jail to get food.

“The most valuable resource you can have is quality staff and I think I do have a lot of quality staff,” he said.

The Oklahoma County Sheriff’s Department said they will be completely moved out of the jail building by the end of this week, taking some sheriff’s employees from the jail as well.

“There's a lot of talent that has left and gone with the sheriff and I'm a little worried about some of the gaps that that may create, but overall I think we're going to have the right players in place.”

Another problem the incoming administrator will have to face; the jail building itself.

“Lots of plumbing problems, lots of heating, air problems, lots of infrastructure problems, equipment - a lot of broken equipment lack of equipment,” Williams listed although not saying whether he believes a new jail will need to be built.