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.