Former county jail in Oklahoma to be auctioned
WAURIKA, Okla. (AP) — A southern Oklahoma jail will be put up for auction this week after the state Corrections Department ended its contracts to house state inmates in county jails.
The former Jefferson County Detention Center in Waurika will be up for auction starting Wednesday, The Oklahoman reported.
“I don’t think in the history of the state of Oklahoma that there’s been a prison, or detention center, sold at public auction,” said auctioneer Louis Dakil, whose Oklahoma City firm is overseeing the auction.
Ricky Martin, the chairman of the county board of commissioners, said inmates are now kept in the county courthouse.
“It’s not one of the modern ones,” Martin said. “Just like everything else in Jefferson County, it’s old. But we do a pretty good job with the money we get.”
The Oklahoma Corrections Department estimates that ending the contracts for Jefferson County and nine other county jails will free up $775,000 for other needs.
Martin said losing the Corrections Department revenue stream in March hurt the county.
“If they could prove they were saving money I’d be OK with it, but they haven’t proved it,” Martin said. “That’s life for the smaller counties.”
Department spokesman Matt Elliott said the detainees that were being housed in Jefferson County weren’t receiving access to the programming they needed.
“It’s not the state agency’s responsibility to pay for county buildings or other local responsibilities,” Elliott said. “We shouldn’t be on the hook for that.”
Information from: The Oklahoman, http://www.newsok.com