Okmulgee Co Jail can remain open, health officials say

Wednesday, February 6th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKMULGEE, Okla. (AP) _ The much-aligned Okmulgee County Jail can remain open, officials said Tuesday.

The state Health Department threatened to close the jail after a Jan. 15 inspection found 15 violations, including cockroaches in cells, worms in the shower, unsanitized mattresses, plumbing leaks and broken windows.

On Jan. 28, the Health Department issued the county an administrative to cease jail operations immediately until the deficiencies could be corrected, state jail inspector Don Garrison said.

Failure to comply would have meant the jail could be subject to fines of $500 per violation per day, Garrison said.

The county was given 15 days to appeal the order, during which the jail continued operating while the necessary improvements were made, officials said.

Following an inspection Monday, Health Department officials said most, if not all, of the deficiencies had been corrected, said Tom Giulioli, Okmulgee County District Attorney.

Giulioli said the county had requested an administrative hearing with the Health Department to appeal the order but now a hearing likely won't be necessary.

``They are of the opinion that the jail is in compliance,'' Giulioli said. ``There is no reason to pursue it further.''

A new $8.5 million facility, which will be funded by a county sales tax, is scheduled to open May 1.

Officials said several thousand dollars has been spent in the past year on trying to fix problems with the jail, which was built more than 80 years ago.

But since funds already are committed to the new facility, the county has been reluctant to spend money on the old lockup, which is on the fourth floor of the courthouse.