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New Jail Contractor Bails

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The latest problem for Tulsa's new county jail is a big problem. The company designing the computer system and software for the David L. Moss Justice Center can't live up to its end of the bargain. This means the jail will have to operate with the mainframe system from the old jail for at least another year.

The new Tulsa County jail was designed to operate with a computer system from a company known as Epic Solutions. The company had already delayed its installment deadline at least three times. Now it admits it won't be ready this year. "We've been worried about it for several months, and of course, they've been reassuring our folks," said Tulsa County Commissioner Bob Dick. "And we have had our MIS people go to their plant in San Diego and look at it and they seemed to know what they were talking about."

John Gleason, president and chief operating officer of Epic Solutions, says the system designed for the Tulsa jail would not be ready until the third or fourth quarter of the year 2000. He says he offered a different version of the system that they use in New Zealand. But Dick says he's not interested. "The jail itself was designed with the Epic system in mind," said Dick. "So for it to be totally functional and operate the way it was designed to operate, we've got to have that system in there."

Dick says he has three options. Either have the county's internal computer team create a similar system, hire another private firm or use the prison system created by the company that runs the jail, Corrections Corporation of America. C-C-A's Tony Bennett says the prison system could work. "It's not designed specifically for a jail, but there are some ways to adapt that program to where that would fit," said Bennett.

Both Bennett and Dick say citizens are not in danger. If the jail were dangerous without the computer system, it wouldn't have opened in the first place. Commissioners say the system would have only been used for informational purposes, not security. Either way, the jail will be without a new computer system for 12 to 18 months. The county commissioners have called a special meeting this Wednesday to discuss their options. The commissioners say they will take legal action to get back the nearly $18,000 used to transfer the old computer system. They're also seeking $800,000 from Epic Solutions because it couldn't deliver in time.

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