State inmates return to Ottawa County jail more than a year after contract ended

Thursday, October 19th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

MIAMI, Okla. (AP) -- More than a year after a state contract with the Ottawa County jail was ended because of allegations of a janitor having sex with a female inmate, male state prisoners have returned to the lockup.

The jail houses 21 medium-security state inmates, who arrived over the last two weeks.

"I'm glad we've got them," sheriff Dennis King said. "It took eight to nine months to bring the jail up to specifications, but I see it as a major plus."

The new state contract could be worth up to $250,000 a year for the county, which saw its contract with the state canceled in May 1999 after a former Ottawa County jail janitor was accused of having consensual sex with a female inmate.

A second-degree rape charge against the janitor was dropped in May 1999 because of inconsistent statements by two inmates who were his chief accusers.

After the incident, the Department of Corrections announced it would consider pulling its inmates out of all county jails and sending them to private prisons, but Ottawa County was the only county of the 13 that held state inmates to lose its state contract, spokesman Jerry Massie said.

After the contract was ended, King established strict policy and procedure guidelines to regain the contract.

King said the state inmates are being held in an area separate from the jail's other inmates.

"They will not even share meals with the other inmates and they will be assigned new local case workers," King said.

The contract allows up to 22 inmates at a rate of $31 a day per inmate. The state Corrections Department is supposed to pay for its inmates' medical expenses.