About a Dozen Cells With Broken Locks in Ottawa County Jail

About a Dozen Cells With Broken Locks in Ottawa County Jail
ottawa co jail.JPG

Ottawa County detention deputy Jacob Gower faces risks at work every day.

“It’s a whole different world,” Gower said. “You can’t describe it to somebody who’s never done it.”

Gower is responsible for booking, feeding, and monitoring the inmates of the Ottawa County Jail; where the prison staff’s safety isn’t helped by the current state of facilities.

“The current state of the jail is pretty poor,” jail administrator Lt. Jesse Krewson said. New to the position, Krewson says he’s still assessing all of the prison’s needs including additional space for inmates, ability to isolate inmates, along with leaking plumbing, leaking roofs, and updating equipment.

“My staff has told me that even when they built the jail some of the things they put in it they were told was already out of date when they did it,” Krewson said.

And that was 20 years ago.

Statewide, the Oklahoma department of corrections director is requesting $1.65 billion to address neglect in Oklahoma jails. But that would only go to state and federal jails. Not county jails.

20 years of wear and tear is made worse by overpopulation. The jail is built to hold 124 inmates. Right now it’s housing 146.

“With overcapacity with inmates you know it plays a big role on the stress of this building,” newly-elected Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd said. It’s especially true when the cells holding inmates are missing doors. Or the lock on the door doesn’t lock; as is the case with about a dozen cells.

“And unfortunately from what I’ve been told, the locks that we have on our cells are obsolete,” Floyd said. “So finding parts and finding new locks might be a problem.”

“If we have multiple people who need to be isolated we don’t have anywhere to put them,” Gower said.

Increasing risks in a facility becoming ill-equipped to handle them.

Sheriff Floyd says he’s still evaluating the total cost of renovating the jail and doesn’t want to build a new one.
Oklahoma voters passed 2 measures to help reduce the prison population. A plus for state and federal facilities, but it likely means over population on the county level.