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jail trust
The Oklahoma County Jail could be placed under the management of a new trust. (Matt Patterson)
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It’s unclear when a vote on the proposed Oklahoma County Jail trust will occur after commissioners received a report from the committee tasked with creating it.

Oklahoma County commissioners met today and heard a report from Oklahoma County Criminal Justice Advisory Board chairman Cody Compton. The proposed trust would provide financial and operational oversight of the Oklahoma County Jail.

District 3 commissioner Kevin Calvey pushed for a vote on the creation of a jail trust in the April 24 meeting, but that was delayed after strong objections from District 1 Commissioner Carrie Blumert.

“I just don’t understand the rush,” Blumert said at the time.

Commissioners decided to send the item back for further study in that meeting. The jail advisory committee met three times since then, Compton said Wednesday.

According to Calvey’s chief deputy, Myles Davidson, the commissioner was out of town on a family vacation and did not attend Wednesday’s meeting.

Vote remains uncertain

Oklahoma County commissioners met Wednesday, May 8, 2019, but did not vote on a proposed jail trust. (Matt Patterson)

Compton told commissioners that reviewing the proposed trust will take some time.

“We went to the CJAC document and started going through it paragraph by paragraph looking at the provisions in the trust indenture and discussing potential changes in that trust indenture to meet the needs of the county,” he said. “We’re still early in that process. We don’t have a recommendation at this time.”

Compton said the committee changed two parts of the indenture during its most recent meetings.

The first change removes the Juvenile Justice Bureau from the trust contract. Compton said that won’t impact the way juveniles are housed at the jail.

The committee also approved a change in the way trustees can be removed from the jail trust. Trustees could now be removed by a two-thirds vote of county commissioners.

When asked by Blumert when the committee might be able to make a final recommendation, Compton said it may be a while.

“There are still quite a bit of things that are out there,” he said. “There are questions that are unanswered. We’re trying to be as deliberate as possible.”

Opened in 1991, problems have plagued the jail ever since. The Department of Justice placed it on a list of facilities it monitors in 2009 in the wake of an investigation into civil rights violations and inmate deaths at the jail.

Air conditioning funds approved

In other jail news, commissioners approved an additional $50,000 in funds for an ongoing air conditioning project. Jail officials hope to have the system functioning again by Monday, May 13.

The air conditioning has been out of service since the beginning of March.

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