Oklahoma's Own In Focus: Okla. County Detention Center History

The push for a new Oklahoma County Jail is nearly twenty years in the making.  While the building itself is just 33 years old, we take an in-focus look at the history.

Tuesday, January 9th 2024, 4:29 pm

By: News 9, Bella Roddy


The push for a new Oklahoma County Jail is nearly twenty years in the making. 

While the building itself is just 33 years old, we take an in-focus look at the history.

The Oklahoma County Detention Center History

1991: The OCDC is built

Built in 1991, the Oklahoma County Jail was originally designed to house 1250 inmates.

Today, there are 1271. In the past, there have been over 2500, double the amount it was built to hold.

2003-2008: Jail conditions decline

Dubbed America's deadliest jail, the Oklahoma County Detention Center has been in the national spotlight since 2007 when the average inmate death rate was more than double the U.S. average.

In 2008 the Department of Justice issued a scathing report over jail conditions detailing unsanitary conditions, a lack of basic medical care, staffing shortages, and chronic overcrowding, including the regular occurrence of four inmates being housed in a two-man cell.

A U.S. Department of Justice report on the Oklahoma County Detention Center has led to the removal of 160 federal inmates from the facility.

Constitutional issues raised in the report, included reasonable protection of inmates from harm, constitutionally required mental health care services, adequate housing, sanitation, environmental protections, and protections from serious fire safety risks.

The inquiry into the jail began in 2003. Officials from the Justice Department visited the facility three times that year, and again in April 2007, when Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel said they conducted an exit briefing with county officials.

2020: Bedsheet jailbreak

On July 31, 2020, Court documents revealed new details on Friday’s Oklahoma County Detention Center jailbreak and suspect search.

Both inmates, Pablo Robledo, and Jose Hernandez, allegedly broke through their 12th-story cell window, and shimmied down a long line of bedsheets tied together to escape.

Documents released said, “A diagram of the facility was found drawn on a piece of paper with the specific area that the inmates escaped from drawn in detail.”

The rope made of sheets was hung from the 12th-floor window and measured out to 100 feet, according to documents.

Investigators said the inmates managed to break through the metal and glass window that was 2.5 feet long and hung the rope on a desk chair within the cell.

Related Article: Documents Reveal New Details Of Oklahoma County Jailbreak

2020: 11 Inmates attack another inmate

Eleven inmates at the Oklahoma County Detention Center are now facing additional charges, including kidnapping assault, and battery, after allegedly attacking another inmate.

The incident happened just after midnight on December 3, 2020.

The charges were filed on March 11, 2021, for the inmates involved in the assault.

They’ve been identified as Devin Hunter, 19; Jordan Owens, 20; Mario Thomas, 42; Jason Martin, 21; Delano Tillman, 27; Mario Thomas, 42; Semaj Thomas, 22; Bashir Said, 21; Artis Dixon, 30; Kelajawon Collins, 22; David Williams, 21; and John Quincy Shivers, 31.

According to court records, the assault of Aaron Cooper, 19, was caught on jail surveillance camera.

11 Oklahoma County Jail Inmates Accused Of Brutally Assaulting Another Inmate

2021: Inmates take jailer hostage

In 2021, inmates took a jailer hostage stabbing him repeatedly with a shank while broadcasting the situation live from that jailer's Facebook page.

Former Oklahoma County Detention Officer Daniel Misquez was held hostage by several inmates during the March 2021 incident. He testified in court saying in that moment he felt powerless and didn't know if he would make it out alive.

Charles Johnson, Gregory Jordan, and Darius Pleasant appeared in court all facing murder charges. Court documents state the inmates allegedly incited a riot by kidnapping Misquez, which in turn caused the officer-involved shooting where Curtis Williams, another inmate involved, was shot and killed.

Read: 5 Inmates Charged For Alleged Involvement In March Hostage Situation, Killing Of Inmate At Oklahoma Co. Jail

Related: ‘The Hostage Deserves To Go Home’: Oklahoma Co. Sheriff Addresses Jail Hostage Situation

2023: Wrong inmate released from jail 

According to the Oklahoma County Detention Center, the inmate impersonated the real man who was scheduled to get out and staff didn’t catch it.

Kittakone Sirisombath says he expected to walk away from jail on December 4, 2023, and he did, eventually, but it would take hours before he said the jail realized they let the wrong man out.

Being locked up is not where most people want to be, for Sirisombath, two and a half days was two and a half days too long. “It does suck,” he said. “That's not a place humans should be living in.”

The 23-year-old was arrested on traffic tickets he says he forgot to pay. So, he paid for them and was set to be released on December 4, 2023. Instead, the jail released inmate Devonne Tyrae Sias.

Oklahoma County Jail Inmate Mistakenly Released After Impersonating Another Inmate

Today: The push for a new jail

More than 61,000 Oklahoma County voters gave their approval on a $260 million bond issue to build a new facility back in June of 2022.

At the time it was said the new facility would open by 2027.

Related Article: Oklahoma's Own In Focus: Where Could New Oklahoma County Jail Be Located?

Other Related Articles:

ODOC Locates Escaped NE Oklahoma Community Corrections Center, Inmate

Officials Searching For Man That Walked Away From Oklahoma Corrections Center

Inmate Found Dead In Cell At Oklahoma County Jail, Authorities Investigating

Citizens Advisory Board Looks To Improve Conditions At Oklahoma County Jail

Convicted Drug Dealer Accidentally Released From Oklahoma County Jail

Convicted killer accused of stabbing inmates in Oklahoma County jail

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