About 50 new detention officers have been hired in the past year, but that progress will likely halt.
Whetsel said that he has ordered a hiring freeze because the removal of the federal inmates could potentially cost the county $3.2 million a year in lost revenue.
The federal government pays the county to hold federal inmates. Whetsel has also asked his top deputies to look at options to cut the department's budget.
Whetsel displeased with report process
County officials learned of the problems during an April 2007 meeting with Justice Department officials.
Based on that meeting, Whetsel then began correcting the problems and additionally prepared a 148-page response to the federal agency's 24-page assessment.
That report was delivered to the federal agency a year ago, and Whetsel expressed displeasure Monday that his report hadn't been factored into the report the Justice Department delivered to the county last week.
The Justice Department investigation of the jail was ordered in 2003. Whetsel said Monday he didn't know why the Oklahoma County jail was chosen for an investigation.
What are next steps?
District 3 County Commissioner Ray Vaughn didn't share Rinehart's assessment of the report.
"It's unfortunate that the report is a year old and has a lot of things in it that have been addressed,” Vaughn said. "I think things have improved considerably.”
Still, Whetsel has asked Vaughn to organize a committee that will research solutions to the problems at the jail.
The seven-member Detention Advisory Committee will likely be created at next week's county commissioners meeting, Vaughn said.
The committee will build on the work of the Jail Funding Task Force, which Vaughn said has run its course.
"These problems stem from a poor design in the structure to begin with,” Vaughn said. "The only solution to that is to try another structure, and we'll be looking at that.”
The U.S. Attorney General could file a lawsuit against Oklahoma County if conditions do not improve, according to the report.
Contributing: Staff Writer Jay F. Marks
Read the DOJ report