Oklahoma County awaits federal response on jail

Leaders in Oklahoma County are awaiting feedback from the Department of Justice on whether the agency will force a tax increase to pay for improvements to the county jail.

BY THE ASSOCIATED PRESS Modified: October 15, 2013 at 9:58 am •  Published: October 15, 2013
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"None of us are under the impression that what we've done will last forever," Maughan said. "But it's a matter of getting us to a better political climate where it might be possible to address the problem long-range."

The county has made multiple improvements to the facility, including upgrading bunk beds to decrease the likelihood of suicide. Additional staff members have been added to key stations in the facility, said District 3 Commissioner Ray Vaughn.

"We've told them that we basically consider ourselves in compliance," he said. "And we have told them that it appears that we'll be unable to pass any kind of bond issue to build a new jail or do anything drastic with the one we have."

A local business newspaper reported Tuesday that the Justice Department can file suit ordering the county to pay for the improvements within three years. Officials said that would amount to a property tax increase of about $226 on a $100,000 home in the first year alone.

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