Rogers Co. Sheriff, Inmates React To COVID-19 Spike In Jail


Sunday, October 25th 2020, 11:04 pm
By: Amelia Mugavero


CLAREMORE, Okla. -

More than a dozen inmates inside the Rogers County jail have tested positive for COVID-19. As of this weekend, Sheriff Scott Walton said 13 inmates have been infected. 

Some inmates said the jail is not doing enough to slow the spread, but the sheriff says everything is being done by the book.

Sandra Felix said she is afraid for her brother-in-law, who's currently being quarantined in the Rogers County jail for COVID-19 exposure.

"He’s already away, which is already hard, and we don’t want him to be sick [and] living in filth," Felix said. “They would bring new inmates in and, instead of quarantining them separately, they would put them directly into the pod with the guys that were in there. So instead of them being in the pod for 14 days, he ended up being in the pod for almost a full month.”

Felix said her brother-in-law didn't want his name used. Another inmate, Moe Boyles, spoke about the jail's conditions.

"It's scary,” Boyles said. “We’re trying to work together because we’re all in this one little pod and we got to keep it [COVID-19] out of here. But when they’re bringing new people in and they’re not quarantining them, that makes it a problem.”

Correctional officers took a News on 6 crew inside the jail and showed that inmates have their own cleaning supplies and are administered rapid COVID-19 tests with a machine. If inmates are not showing any COVID-19 symptoms, they are also placed in a quarantine pod for five to seven days.

Felix said the five to seven-day quarantine pod is not enough time. Incoming inmates as well as sick inmates should be quarantined longer that what the jail currently mandates.

"I believe that when people are put in prison, there’s a reason for that,” Felix said. “I also understand that it’s our job to want them to be different people when they’re released. How can they want to do that if the conditions are so poor?"

Walton said there's no cause for concern about the facility's safety.

"The hygiene is there, certainly the medical screening is there,” Walton said. “Anybody who is concerned about their loved one in here would probably be more concerned when they get out due to the lifestyle that most of these individuals lead.”

Walton said the jail administered a slower, more accurate test to all 230 inmates on Friday. He said those results should come back by Monday.