Overcrowding An Understatement At Rogers County Jail

Thursday, December 7th 2017, 7:06 pm
By: News On 6

The Rogers County Jail is bursting at the seams and the sheriff says it's getting dangerous.

There are now 308 inmates inside the jail designed to hold only 250. The Rogers County Sheriff's Office says calling it overcrowded is an understatement.

It's his job to lock suspects up, but Rogers County Sheriff Scott Walton doesn’t think it’s acceptable for inmates to live under these conditions.

"The problem goes up with the number of inmates you have," he said. "We have and have been for some time now over capacity."

Inmates are sleeping just inches from the floor, in cots and plastic beds. It's not only uncomfortable for them, but the Walton said it also puts the officers' safety at risk.

"The sympathy should come for the detention officers that work in that jail in a very, very crowded environment where a ratio of inmates to detention officers is very offset," he said.

Undersheriff Jon Sappington said, “This is a problem and it keeps occurring, and we have to do something about it."

Though there is currently no concrete solution in place to solve the problem, Sappington has some ideas to help.

"We're going to have to find a way to reduce the current population for the square footage that we have," he said. “Either expedite the court process in a manner in which we can have the square footage needed to properly house an appropriate number of inmates, or to expand the facility to allow the same."

Until then, the jam-packed conditions of the Roger's County Jail will remain.

"As the population rises it just gets more intense in relation to the inmates’ personality and their perspective as well as your interactions," Sappington said.

Walton said, "Rogers County is certainly not the place to come if you're a thug, a thief, or a dope dealer."

The sheriff said it could cost up to $25 million to expand the jail or build a new facility. For now, they are exploring more affordable options to relieve the problem.