Ottawa County jail housing 14 inmates after being closed four months

Officials hope the jail will be operational within two weeks

OTTAWA COUNTY, Okla. – The Ottawa County jail has sat empty for months – but now it’s again holding inmates.

There was a fire at the jail in October, forcing officials to move inmates to other jails while repairs are made.

Now, there’s finally some activity again at the jail. Good news for officials and employees alike.

“To be home again, and to get our facility up and goin’, I think they’re definitely excited,” says Ottawa County Sheriff Jeremy Floyd.

Last week, after the Rogers County, Oklahoma jail became overcrowded, Ottawa County had to take 14 of their inmates back.

Something that officials say wouldn’t have been possible without forward progress at the jail.

“We just got one use, one of the pods in use at the jail,” says Floyd.

It’s a big deal because that’s 14 inmates that the county doesn’t have to pay to house somewhere else.

But, since the sprinkler system isn’t operational yet, it has added some extra work for the jailers.

“The plan is that they’ll just log every fifteen minutes that they looked for fire, smelled for smoke or anything that might be hazardous at that time,” says Ottawa County Commissioner Russell Earls. “I’m very confident our inmates are safe in the jail.”

All that’s left to do before the jail is fully operational is to finish the sprinkler system.

“We’re probably within two weeks of having all our inmates back,” says Earls.

And officials are chomping at the bit for that day, since every day that the jail is down it costs the county more money.

We got invoices from three different jails from Ottawa County First Deputy Clerk Natasha Mays to get an idea how much that bill will be.

According to Mays, county officials haven’t received bills from Washington or Delaware counties yet, so what the county owes them isn’t included in these figures.

So far, the commission has paid Rogers County $24,543.00, at a rate of $27 per inmate per day.

They voted to also pay Craig County $14,634.00 at their commission meeting on Tuesday (2/18). That’s also at a rate of $27 per inmate per day.

But those numbers are both much lower than what they currently owe Tulsa County. That number is $76,245.00, at a rate of $76 dollars per inmate per day. That also doesn’t include fees from October 18th to November 8th.

The commission is currently trying to get the bill from Tulsa county lowered. But if they can’t, they will end up paying (as of 2/18) $115,422.00 to house the inmates somewhere other than Ottawa County.

“It’s not the way that it functions very well. It’s been a pain is what it is,” says Earls.

“It will be a breath of fresh air to get them all back,” says Floyd.

Ottawa County currently has housing seven inmates that are being housed in Craig county, two inmates in Delaware county, and 27 in Washington county.