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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — The Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) notified the administrator of the Oklahoma County Detention Center (OCDC) or Jail Tuesday that the facility is no longer certified to hold juveniles.

“All persons, under eighteen (18) years of age and as defined by Okla. State. tit. 10A … must no longer be detained by your facility by July 16, 2021,” the notification letter to Jail Administrator Greg Williams stated.

Williams also received a 61-page detailed report of the findings.

The decertification is the result of an unannounced follow-up inspection and investigation of the Jail on June 23.

The notification letter said that the facility was “not in substantial compliance” with Title 310, Chapter 670 of the Oklahoma Administrative Code (OAC). (OAC 310:670-7-2)

The letter was signed by Barry Edwards, program manager, OSDH, Detention Program, and David McCullough, compliance monitor for the Oklahoma Office of Juvenile Affairs.


Administration response

The press release sent Tuesday said that at the time of the press release “only one juvenile meets the statutory definition of a ‘child’ or ‘juvenile’ and will be returned to the Oklahoma County Juvenile Detention facility as soon as possible before the OSDH deadline.”

Free Press messaged Williams to clarify this part since there have been confusing news reports about the number. He explained that there is only one person currently in the jail who meets the criteria of a juvenile. There are 14 persons under 18 in the jail but 13 of them have Murder 1 charges and so are legally classified as adults. This decertification will not apply to those who are legally adults.

“We remain committed to making all necessary repairs to the facility to improve the safety and quality of life for all who work and live within its walls,” said Williams. “While the staff and contractors have worked diligently and over long hours to make the infrastructure improvements that are already completed, there is much more to be done.”

“Decades of physical plant neglect and poor construction cannot be overcome in a few months,” Williams continued. “I am proud of the work the staff, along with our external partners like Oklahoma County, has completed in such a short timeframe.”

The OCDC Chief Operations Officer William Monday said that staff would be reviewing the report. If they identify “some deficiencies that the facility does not agree are accurate” they will research the process to “discuss those inaccuracies” with OSDH.

“Although we acknowledge the many issues we face at the detention center, we want to make sure everyone is focusing attention on the correct problems,” Monday said. “No one wants this place to be in the best possible condition it can be more than we do.“

Last Updated August 10, 2021, 2:29 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor