Delaware County jail proposal rejected by voters for fourth time

Delaware County residents for the fourth time in two years have rejected a sales tax increase to pay for additional beds for the overcrowded jail.
BY VALLERY BROWN Modified: August 26, 2010 at 6:17 am •  Published: August 26, 2010
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State jail inspector Chief James Joselin said the state is willing to work with county officials as long as they are looking for solutions.

"We're working with them as best we can," Joselin said. "We don't set out to impose fines."

If fines are levied, they could amount up to $500 per day for every prisoner over capacity. That would be passed along to property owners in Delaware County, Crowder said.

Other jails in trouble

Nearly 50 counties have built jails over the past decade, Joselin said. Older jails still face overcrowding problems.

Kay, Caddo and Seminole counties have all had overcrowding issues that led to violation of state codes but are either building or have secured funding for jails or additional beds. Pontotoc County recently opened a jail and is again in compliance with state laws.

The Canadian County jail has nearly twice been shut down because of overcrowding.

County officials there are paying $21,000 per month to house inmates in other counties to avoid fines.

Voters in 2008 rejected a .35-cent sales tax to fund a $25 million jail.

Officials there are working out language for a bond issue in the coming months.

In Oklahoma County, officials plan to ask voters for about $300 million to build a new jail, saying some of the problems mentioned in a scathing report by the Department of Justice can't be fixed in the existing facility.

The report criticized the jail for rampant violence, excessive use of force by guards, medical neglect, overcrowding and understaffing.

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