April 24, 2001 (STILLWATER, Okla.) – An Oklahoma county plans to convert a former church into a jail annex.
The state Health Department has ordered Payne County to reduce the number of inmates in the current jail. As many as 80 people are sometimes held in a facility in the basement of the county courthouse that was designed to hold 54. The county already owns the former Stillwater Christian Church near the courthouse and has been using it to store records. Plans call for converting the former sanctuary into a men’s dormitory, with a women’s dormitory and a kitchen upstairs. Only prisoners considered unlikely to escape would be held in the minimum-security facility.
Officials say that the church would only be used until the county finds a permanent solution to the overcrowding problem.