Tulsa Inmates Will Be Getting A New Home

Tuesday, August 10th 1999, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

The much-anticipated and much-maligned, new Tulsa jail will soon be in full operation. The first group of inmates will begin moving just a few blocks across downtown but decades ahead in technology and safety. The Tulsa County Jail has seen better days. It's spent almost four decades as a home to inmates, but that is about to end. "We're excited, one because I don't know of anywhere else in the United States that has transitioned from a publicly operated jail into a privately owned jail into a new facility," says Major Brian Edwards, Tulsa county sheriff's office. The new jail is being run by the private company Corrections Corporation of America, or C.C.A Although the David L Moss Correctional Facility has been in place for a few months, several glitches delayed its opening. Even now, a computer software problem is forcing the new facility to rely on the old jail's technology. "It's not up and running they're just going to use the county mainframe," says Edwards. C.C.A declined to comment on the situation. But the company says its ready to handle the 50 or so inmates it'll l receive each day until the move is complete. The jail will be receiving new guards, too many will be familiar faces. "On an application they asked me why I left the sheriff's office, I just say hostile takeover," says Tom Surber, detention officer. Tom Surber is one of about 200 sheriff's office employees who received notice they would be let go when the old jail closes. C.C.A hired Surber and dozens others. Later this month he'll move to the new jail, with mixed emotions. Surber says he wanted to go into law enforcement, and hopes to get back to that someday. The Tulsa County Sheriff's Office estimates that all of the inmates will be here and in the hands of C.C.A by September 1 that's when the sheriffs office will be out of the jail business for good. The Sheriff's Office says the old jail will be used as a holding facility for a few months while crews renovate the city jail. After that, the area may be turned into office space.