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OKLAHOMA CITY (Free Press) — (Updated 4-8-21) Water at the Oklahoma County Detention Center (Jail) was scheduled to be off for around eight hours Thursday as crews made two major repairs to the water system starting around 3:30 a.m.

Repairs have been completed as of noon, Thursday.

“Today our maintenance department and plumbing contractors installed a booster pump and tied plumbing on both sides of the building together, which is going to ensure drastically improved water pressure throughout the whole detention center,” said Greg Williams, Jail Administrator. “Since completing today’s work we have seen an improvement and we’re grateful to the maintenance staff for their quick and efficient work. Today was a big step in improving conditions inside the facility.”

Preparations had been made to include two hot meals for the day as well as providing bottled water to detainees according to Mack Mullings with the Jail Trust. He said the bottled water was already been pre-positioned on each floor.

Mullings said that all detainees had been told about the planned repairs and will be provided with water buckets for flushing until water service is restored by the end of the day.

Visitors to the Jail will not be allowed to use restrooms while the repairs are being made.

“Absolutely necessary”

“These repairs are absolutely necessary to continue to move the facility toward maximum efficiency and elevate the quality of life for the detainees and staff,” said Jail Administrator Greg Williams. “Due to the construction of this building, unfortunately, there is no way to perform these repairs without draining the pipes and experiencing a relatively short time without water, but in the long run the improvements will be worth it.”

Williams added, “Thanks to the OCDC maintenance staff and their preparations with the contractors, we have been able to shorten the time frame which benefits those who live and work here.”

Long-planned maintenance

Mullings described the repairs as “long-planned maintenance to solve flooding” in the Jail and address concerns of the Oklahoma State Department of Health (OSDH) delivered in late March critical of sanitation and plumbing issues in the Jail.

Work is expected to begin around 3:30 a.m. Thursday and conclude around 11:00 a.m. to create as little disruption to the detainees’ routine as possible.

Detainee conditions

Conditions for detainees came to light for a broad spectrum of the public March 27 when a detention officer was taken hostage by several detainees as an extreme protest for conditions they believed were inhumane.

One detainee was shot and killed by two Oklahoma City Police officers in the effort to rescue the hostage detention officer.

Williams said that the officer was in “good condition” the next day. But, Oklahoma City Police spokespersons said that the detention officer had been beaten and stabbed during the ordeal.

About the same time, a report by the OSDH came out about health problems with the Jail. The 39-page report cited 26 deficiencies in the Jail identified as non-compliant with health and safety standards.

The repairs Thursday are a part of a plan put in motion earlier in the year but no doubt expedited by the harsh circumstances that came to light in March.

Last Updated April 8, 2021, 4:25 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor