I am baffled that a jail roughly 20 years old must be replaced at a cost of $350,000,000 to taxpayers (News, Scott Cooper, “Go directly to jail,” Dec. 16, 2009, Oklahoma Gazette).
The basis for the need to build the jail is last year’s U.S. Department of Justice report, which confirmed the deplorable conditions and management of the jail. Nowhere does the report say “spend an unbelievable amount of tax¬payer money on a new jail.”
The sheriff claims he has fixed 47 of 54 problems in the jail. Has there been any evidence produced by anyone to confirm this allegation? Certainly, state jail inspector reports or a follow-up investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice would be helpful. But since his jailers have been accused of killing an inmate in said jail, I would assume the sheriff has not made changes.
If the sheriff cannot run the jail he now has, how will he run his new $350,000,000 jail?