Oklahoma County promised to fix its jail more than 10 year ago, but deaths and staffing issues continue

The U.S. Department of Justice documented dangerous conditions in the Oklahoma County Detention Center that led to a 2009 court settlement requiring the county to staff and fund its jail adequately. But the Justice Department failed to enforce the settlement. Staff shortages and poor conditions persist in the jail, leading to 84 deaths since 2009, seven in the past three months. The county knew it would need voter approval to raise taxes or borrowing to pay for the jail reforms, but it never followed through and was not held to account by the federal overseers.

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