Marked progress being made to improve conditions at detention center, annual report shows

Monday, November 15, 2021

It is no secret that the Oklahoma County Detention Center, or Oklahoma County Jail, has had some challenges and obstacles to overcome in recent years that have garnered state and national attention, in particular issues related to overcrowding and living conditions for inmates.

According to their fiscal year 2020-21 Annual Report, the Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Council (CJAC), the entity created in November 2017 to oversee the detention facility, noted marked improvements in many areas of concern, although more work remains.

Arguably the most pressing issue over the years has been the detention center’s surging population that has topped more than 2,000 on several occasions, including a one-day high of 2,617 detainees in 2004. More recently in 2017, the center experienced a one-day detainee population of 2,237. That's certainly not ideal, especially for a facility originally built to hold up to 1,200 detainees. And that doesn’t even count the number of staff working at the facility on any given day. However, those population numbers have been trending downward, the report said, to an average of approximately 1,700 detainees on any given day in FY21, which included an average of about 218 Department of Corrections detainees.

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