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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — On Monday afternoon the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Authority held its monthly meeting, and again, took little action and showed no transparency regarding personnel decisions by the Trust or Jail.

The Trust, missing at least two members, heard the monthly presentation on Jail operations from Trust CEO Greg Williams, who has been embattled for the past month due to a recording of him making flippant comments and jokes about COVID with Jail Communications Director Mark Opgrande.

The Trust heard from members of the public relating to Williams, but no Trust member spoke about the controversy at any point during Monday’s meeting.

The Trust also failed to discuss any of the four deaths to occur in Jail custody so far in the first two months of the year.

The Trust did manage to ratify some spending, however, and hinted at a future Citizens Advisory Board that will imply a level of transparency so far absent from Jail and Jail Trust operations.

Marty Peercy reports Local government

Citizens Speak

Free Press reported earlier today on Monday’s meeting of the Board of County Commissioners (BoCC) wherein Oklahoma County residents spoke up to ask the Board to terminate the employment of the Jail administrator and his Communications Director Mark Opgrande.

Those same residents were present at the meeting of the Jail Trust on Monday afternoon and made largely the same comments.

The only response received by the public were in the form of a vague argument put up by Trustee Chad Alexander.

Alexander took exception to comments from local business owner and political activist Sean Cummings. Cummings stated, factually, that the Trust does not have an office address or professional phone number for residents to use to contact the Trust. Alexander interrupted Cummings to say that he had given him his personal number.

The two argued away some of Cumming’s reserved time for comment, but Cummings pressed ahead and called for somebody on the Trust to “have the guts” to make a movement toward firing WIlliams for his comments and what Cummings and other activists consider Williams’s other deficiencies in his execution of his job.

Most commenters referenced the many deaths in the Jail since Williams took over operation of the Jail.

No member of the Trust responded to the remainder of comments.

CEO Report

The embattled Williams appeared at the Trust meeting to give his customary monthly report.

The only mention of deaths in the Jail during the meeting was during his report. Williams made reference to the two deaths in Jail custody during the month of February, bringing the total for 2022 to 4 Jail Deaths thus far. Williams said the two recent deaths are still under investigation.

jail
Jail CEO Greg Williams gives a report about the Oklahoma County Detention Center (Jail) February 7, 2022. (BRETT DICKERSON/Okla City Free Press)

Again, that constituted all the official dialogue during the Jail Trust meeting having to do with the deaths in Jail custody. As commentators pointed out, that brings the Jail’s current trajectory to be on course for 24 deaths in the Jail this year.

Williams told the Trust that there are currently no active COVID cases in the Jail among detainees or staff. The Court no longer requires a negative COVID test of detainees in order to attend their hearings, so testing has diminished in the Jail. Williams said that new detainees are still quarantined before entering the general population.

Staffing remains a concern, as the Jail now has 339 employees.

Williams touted the staff’s intercepting contraband in the Jail. He pointed to some improvements in searches at booking, and intimated that he believed a new X-ray body scanner for the employee/vendor entrance could be very helpful in combatting contraband.

Purchasing

The Trust agreed to two spending items during Monday’s meeting.

The first was an amendment to the operating agreement with Turn Key Health Clinics, the in-house healthcare provider for the Jail.

The cost of services in this amendment are actually lower than the previous rate. The decrease in cost is owed to a diminishment of COVID-related services, such as testing before court appearances.

The other item under Purchasing was to buy a body scanner like the one mentioned by Williams in his presentation. The $200,000 machine was approved unanimously by the Trustees.

CAB

A Citizen’s Advisory Board, the Trust leadership has stated, is being established for the Trust.

A list of appointees by the Trust has not been made a matter of public record so far, nor has any discussion of the processes and procedures of the proposed committee.

Supposedly, the committee will raise the level of transparency for the Trust. The process so far, however, has not been publicized.

The Jail Trust will meet again next month.


Last Updated March 7, 2022, 4:01 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor