Tulsa County Sheriff Candidates Call Jail Practices 'Inhumane,' 'Recipe For Disaster'

Monday, March 7th 2016, 11:00 pm
By: News On 6

Inhumane and a recipe for disaster - that is how the last two candidates for Tulsa County Sheriff describe what has happened at the County Jail.

An investigation by News On 6 and our partner, The Frontier, found that girls in the jail are held in solitary confinement. Their cells don't have cameras, and men, who are jail employees, are sometimes alone with the girls.

Girls are even housed among the some of the most violent inmates.

3/3/2016 Related Story: News On 6 Tours Jail At Center Of Civil Lawsuit Against Former Sheriff

That violates jail policy; and Tulsa County sheriff candidates, Democrat Rex Berry and Republican Vic Regalado, say it also violates common decency.

Berry said the way they are housed is inexcusable, "We wouldn't do that with prisoners of war."

Regalado said he's puzzled by it, "It's kind of a perfect storm for what happened."

What happened, is girls accused jail employees of sexual assault.

3/4/2016 Related Story: Plaintiff In Civil Suit Against Former Sheriff Speaks With News On 6, The Frontier

A federal jury found former sheriff, Stanley Glanz, liable for knowing girls were at risk of sexual assault but not acting to prevent it.

Acting sheriff, Michelle Robinette, said there's not enough money to build a pod for the smallest jail population - just 24 girls in the past 14 months.

"That is a very lame excuse, saying that we just don't have the money for it,” Berry said. “The last couple of lawsuits that we have coming through here has cost us in the millions of dollars. To say we don't, we don't have the money for a camera or to put a female detention officer in there is absolutely ludicrous."

Regalado said, "Could that potentially be a problem? Uh, yeah, I think so."

He is particularly concerned that women don't always oversee the girls.

"We either bring one in and pay overtime or make sure that we've got one for the period of time that a juvenile female is in there. I think it may cost us money, but it'll cost us a whole lot less money than it would going into federal court and being sued," said Regalado.

Berry said, "They have not been convicted of anything, so what's the justification? Just because there's not very many of them, to be housed like they would be a death row inmate."

3/1/2016 Related Story: Vic Regalado Wins Republican Race For Tulsa County Sheriff

Both want to see a change; Regalado wants to look into the possibility of putting body cameras on jail medical staff and Berry wants to do a full audit of personnel.

These two remaining candidates will face off for the first time at a forum Thursday.

You can read more about this story by visiting our partner, The Frontier's website.