New Okla. County Jail Location Dispute Continues, New House Bill Filed

A newly filed bill could ban correctional facilities from being built within 2,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school. Right now there are three primary locations under consideration for the new Oklahoma County jail.

Wednesday, February 14th 2024, 5:40 pm

By: News 9


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A newly filed bill could ban correctional facilities from being built within 2,000 feet of an elementary or secondary school.

 Right now there are three primary locations under consideration for the new Oklahoma County jail.

Among them, is the jail’s current location, in downtown Oklahoma City.

Democratic leaders say it makes the most sense given the proximity to bus stops, county courts, hospitals, and police headquarters.

However, it's within 2,000 feet of two schools, the Oklahoma City Girls Art School and John Rex Elementary making it illegal to rebuild there, if the new bill is passed.

The bill's author says he wants to prioritize safe learning environments for children adding, "Creating a buffer zone between new correctional facilities and schools can reduce the likelihood of recently released individuals walking around our children's schools and playgrounds," said Rep. Josh Cantrell, R-Kingston.

But House Democrats say it's addressing a problem that doesn't exist, for profit. "This isn't about protecting schools or about children. This is about commercial development," said Rep. Jason Lowe.

The measure was unanimously passed out of committee. It now heads to the full House floor for a vote.

Meanwhile, another location still up for consideration is a site near Del City. City leaders there say they're currently exploring legal action against Oklahoma County over the jail site. They're also organizing a protest march.

The other location is a plot of land at Southwest 74th and Rockwell, near the airport.

A different site near the airport has already been ruled out due to FAA concerns.

For more details on the new jail location, and updates visit this link: https://www.news9.com/infocus

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