New Oklahoma County jail ballot proposal is delayed

Voting on $350 million jail proposal will happen later this year, said Ray Vaughn, chairman of the Oklahoma County commissioners. Vaughn said the vote wouldn't meld well with school and municipal elections.
BY ZEKE CAMPFIELD Zcampfield@opubco.com Modified: January 2, 2013 at 9:29 pm •  Published: January 3, 2013
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Talk of replacing the current downtown jail — opened in 1991 and the largest of its kind in the state — picked up steam in 2007, when the Justice Department outlined a series of management and operational deficiencies there.

All but a few of the deficiencies have been addressed, Vaughn said, and the remaining ones would require major structural changes. He said the county has until November to complete the list or to at least demonstrate the public's support for making those structural changes.

Vaughn said consultants have been asked to develop a one-story complex that would replace the existing 13-story tower downtown. The adult detention center would be built to hold 2,800 detainees.

Oklahoma County Sheriff John Whetsel, who manages the jail as part of his duties as sheriff, has not said whether he supports the construction of a new jail.


I don't want to insinuate we want an election entirely to ourselves, necessarily, but the school board and city council elections being the same time frame, we would perhaps hurt their turnout or maybe they would hurt our turnout.”

Ray Vaughn,
Oklahoma County commissioner

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