‘The jail remains a place of death, horror, and harm’: Metro faith leaders, activists call for change in OK Co. jail leadership
OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A coalition of local activists and faith leaders joined together Friday at a northeast Oklahoma City church to call for change in Oklahoma County jail leadership.
They originally met earlier this week where they said they have waited for change, but they claim the issues have gotten worse and not better.
“We waited to see the death decline. We waited to see horror stories of the jail dissipate. We waited to see the direction change. But we see right now that it is not happening,” said local pastor, the Rev. Dr. John Reed Jr. on Friday. “Mr. Williams is incapable of righting the ship.”EARLIER COVERAGE: Community leaders issue joint call for county jail administrator to resign
“Rikers Island has a population of approximately 5,700 inmates and has seen 16 deaths this year,“ said the Rev. Dr. Shannon Fleck, he Executive Director of the Oklahoma Conference of Churches. “Our jail has a rough population of 1,700 and has had so far 14 deaths this year. Rikers Island has a death rate at 2.8 deaths per 1000, and ours has a rate of 8.2 per 1000.”New report shows how racial history impacts Oklahoma’s death penalty
“It’s obvious that we need to go in a different direction with the Oklahoma County jail and the administration,” said local activist, Jabee Williams.
The group spoke on what they called terrible living conditions inside. They mentioned specific instances like the hostage situation involving a corrections officer in early 2021 and an alleged rape of a female detainee by a male inmate in July, among other things, that led to their call for change.
“It compels action on our part to address the very concerning and rapid deterioration of the Oklahoma County jail,” Reed said. “The Jail Trust must find new leadership, that it must depart from its current path under the leadership of the current jail administrator, Mr. Gregg Williams.”