04/12/2001

OK county evicts inmates from courthouse

April 12, 2001
(OKLAHOMA CITY) – The Oklahoma County commissioners have banned overnight prisoners in the county courthouse because inmates have vandalized the building’s plumbing.

The commissioners said they did not want to spend money to replace ruined pipes only to have them destroyed again. They decided Wednesday to close two of three floors now used as a jail annex and to allow only prisoners being held during the day for court appearances in the third one. The county had been housing 250 prisoners awaiting transfer to state facilities and county prisoners serving weekend sentences in the courthouse.

Sheriff John Whetsel said the decision could cost the county money since the extra space allowed him to take federal prisoners, getting payments of $42 per day.

Officials describe the plumbing problems as messy and embarrassing, with a judge during one hearing finding sewage water dripping on his head. They say the inmates would put sheets, towels and other foreign objects down toilets, clogging the pipes.

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