City Leaders Get First Look At New Tulsa Jail

Wednesday, September 27th 2017, 5:57 pm

City of Tulsa and Tulsa County are separately building new spaces for prisoners after talks about working together broke down.

The county was using a small city lockup inside the police courts building, but the city took it back.

The city has to remodel it for their use and the county has to create a new space for their needs.

The city lockup is not much to look at, but Mayor G.T. Bynum and council looked anyway, taking their first tour of the space where Tulsa will soon keep municipal prisoners.

8/16/2017 Related Story: Tulsa Council Approves Proposal To Create City Jail

The city just took the space back and started renovations, tearing out what's not needed or not working.

"The facility is going to need some minor upgrades to bring it up to code to make it acceptable for a ten day holding facility for municipal prisoners," said Tulsa Police Sergeant Shane Tuell.

For years the county used the space to hold prisoners as they waited for court.

It was secure and convenient with a walkway leading right into the secure back hallways of the courthouse.

Now that walkway is walled off on the county side, where work is 90 percent complete on a holding area they'll use for the short term.

To get prisoners in and out, the Tulsa County Sheriff's office uses vans to get in a redesigned secure entrance to the building.

Meanwhile next door the city is beginning a $500,000 renovation to make the lockup suitable for overnight stays.

"We have to have showers. We have to have the ability to store food. We need more restroom areas. We need areas, secure areas, for attorneys to come and go. There are a lot of areas that need updates to make sure we can handle those needs," Tuell said.

The new city lockup will handle up to 27 men and five women.

It it will open January 1 inside the Tulsa Police Department.

In the last month, the county added video conferencing between three courtrooms and the jail.

That eliminates some need for holding space, but the county will still need to build a permanent holding area.