Caddo County_Eight county jails in Oklahoma are in violation of state and federal codes - and, one is the Caddo County Jail. The jail is violating several codes, and the biggest is overcrowding. It's not the first time, so 7News wanted to know how officials will remedy the problem. County officials say they have been working on different options to relieve the overcrowding, but it costs money, and taxpayers aren't eager to fork over the cash.
The jail has no hot water, bad plumbing, and not even one elevator - just some of the problems facing the jail. The biggest issue is that prisoners are piled on top of each other. "In one of the tanks we had room for 12, and we had 20 in at that time," said Caddo County Sheriff Gene Cain. "One of the cells had room for eight...we had 11. One had eight...we had 17 inmates in it."
Cain says simple overcrowding isn't the worst problem. "We have no space available - or no cells - for (inmates with) airborne disease," he said. "We have none of that. When you have people with those kind of diseases and stuff, you just have to put them with the others sometimes." County Commissioner Carlos Squires says that while they would like to repair the problem, they simply don't have the funds. "Last time we had the sales tax election was last fall," he said. "Three-quarter-cent increase in sales tax to build a new jail, and it failed by 75 votes."
While officials say they may have other options, the timing is bad. "Right now, getting bonds is pretty difficult, and we would like for the economy to turn around," said Squires. Cain says the jail has been overcrowded since he took over the position of sheriff eight years ago. "It's very frustrating," he said. "It's also very dangerous to the prisoners. It is dangerous to my personnel that has to work with them."
State Jail Inspector Don Garrison says that if the counties do not find solutions to fix the problems, they could be fined daily. He says if he must, he can ask the Attorney General to close the jail.
The other counties that currently in violation are Washita, Canadian, Cleveland, Kay, Seminole, Delaware and Washington.
Count on 7News to keep you updated.
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