Federal investigation of the Oklahoma County jail

Thursday, May 29th 2003, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

(Oklahoma City-AP) -- The US Department of Justice has launched an investigation into possible civil rights violations at the Oklahoma County jail.

Attorneys from the Justice Department met with county commissioners and Sheriff John Whetsel, before touring the jail.

Federal investigators will look at four issues _ possible violations of inmate civil rights, overall operations and staffing of the jail, employee safety and medical attention given to inmates.

Whetsel has been sued several times by inmates claiming they were mistreated by guards or not given proper medical attention.

Complaints from inmates and local human rights advocates include dirty conditions, bad food and no hot showers.

Nineteen inmates have died at the jail since it opened.

Local activists claim many other inmates have suffered permanent injuries or died after being released from the jail. Whetsel has denied the allegations.