Del City Holds Town Hall In Opposition Of Proposed Oklahoma County Jail Site

Del City held a town hall on Tuesday night for people to speak their minds about a proposed jail location close to Del City neighborhoods.

Tuesday, March 26th 2024, 10:56 pm

By: News 9, Jordan Fremstad


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Del City held a town hall on Tuesday night for people to speak their minds about a proposed jail location close to Del City neighborhoods.

Del City announced it has hired three attorneys to represent them in their fight against this proposed jail site. People who showed up to Del City’s community center left no doubt about what they didn’t want near their community. 

“This isn’t right,” said JD Hock, Del City’s manager. “We didn’t feel that it was right.” 

The Del City community continues its protest against a potential new jail facility along East Grand Boulevard. The location rests just outside of the city but is close to a Del City neighborhood. Del City Council and several members of this community have felt like their voices have not been heard. “What’s right is right and wrong is wrong,” said Jess Eddy, an OKC activist. 

Rep. Andy Fugate, D-OKC, said this site would place the jail further away from necessary resources. “It’s miles away from attorney’s offices,” Fugate said. “It’s miles away from employment services. We don’t want it here.” 

Many of the concerns with the East Grand location and other considered sites surround safety regarding people released from jail. However, Meagan Taylor, director of Diversion Hub, an OKC nonprofit that helps people navigate the criminal justice system in OKC, said people are misinformed about Oklahoma County’s jail population. 

County data shows that 80 percent of people inside the jail are people awaiting court dates who have not been convicted of crimes. Taylor said misinformation causes more harm in communities. 

“When we’re not focused on fear, focused on labeling people, people rise to the occasion,” Taylor said. “I would encourage people not to be scared of people that have touched the system because then that just perpetuates this misconception that we should continue to lock people up.” 

Taylor didn’t have an opinion on where the jail should go, but she said she hopes the new facility offers better resources to end cycles of incarceration within the state. “We are not taking care of the underlying root causes of what got them there in the first place,” Taylor said. 

Eddy echoed Fugate's remarks at Tuesday’s town hall and acknowledged the obstacles incarcerated individuals face in Oklahoma County. 

“Nine of ten people in jail, I think you understand, are not dangerous. They are simply unable to afford to get out of jail,” Eddy said. “I think we can also understand not wanting to have a jail next to our neighborhood.” 

Mid-Del City School Board member Gina Standridge argued her concerns with several schools in the area Oklahoma County Commissioners proposed. “Why are building this jail on the backs of our children?” Standridge said. 

Many people raised their voices at the meeting with one common objective. “We all know that this is wrong,” said Claudia Brown, a Del City Council member. 

Del City leadership said their potential lawsuit hinges on the outcome of Oklahoma City’s planning process. The OKC Planning Commission will consider a zoning application for the proposed jail site on April 11. 

An Oklahoma City spokesperson said, that after the planning commission makes a recommendation, the item will be forwarded to the city council. According to the city, zoning items require two city council meetings. First, there is an introduction where the item is set for the final hearing and the final hearing which takes place about four weeks later. 

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