In a short and formal meeting of the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority, the Jail Trust approved a slate of contracts and agreed to an historic lease of the Oklahoma County Detention Center (Jail).
One contract that caused some discussion and confusion among the Trustees was a renewal with the City of Oklahoma City for boarding of prisoners from the Oklahoma City Police Department.
Sue Ann Arnall, a member of the Trust, balked at approving a contract that many Trustees hadn’t had time to review. She also wanted to see language in the contract that would disincentivize police filing state charges over municipal charges when arresting a person.
Arnall recommended extending the current contract month-to-month in order to revisit the new contract. The Trust largely seemed to agree with Arnall, but were informed by legal counsel that they could not extend the current contract with the City because the Trust is not a party to the current contract.
The Trust ultimately approved the new contract with the amendment that they would revisit the contract terms in the coming months.
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The Trust heard a report from Turnkey Health, the healthcare provider for the Jail, about COVID-19 in the jail. The Turnkey representative explained that each prisoner is tested at intake provided the person agrees to testing. Currently the jail is using the less invasive nasal test.
If a new arrival to the jail declines the testing, as is their right, they are placed in an isolation pod for ten to fourteen days where nursing staff will monitor them for symptoms before they are eventually moved into the general population.
The jail has tested 267 people. Turnkey recently ordered 1,000 more tests.
Trustee Francie Ekwerekwu mentioned that there had been one positive test a month ago. The Turnkey representative stated that that individual had been quarantined and is now free of coronavirus.
Ekwerekwu stated that after the last meeting of the Trust, she returned to her office to have a video meeting with a client in the jail. She said she was informed by a deputy that her client couldn’t come to the meeting because there was a “COVID problem” on his pod.
The representative of Turnkey said she had never heard of anything like that but would look into it.
A very busy Greg Williams, CEO of the Criminal Justice Authority, gave a brief report on the jail.
He said that while many jail staff had returned their paperwork, the Authority is still waiting on employees to complete the re-hiring process. He stated that the deadline for staff to return their paperwork is June 26, at noon.
The Sheriff’s Office tweeted on the morning of the Trust meeting that the OSCO had officially moved out of the Jail and that services typically found there would be available at the new offices at the Krowse Building.
The Trust has one more meeting before officially taking over the jail. That meeting is on June 29 at 1:00 p.m.
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