A recent inspection of the Ottawa County Jail showed a few areas of concern, according to a notice of violation issued by the Oklahoma Department of Health.
At the forefront of the deficiencies was a concern that inmates were not taking their medication properly.
According to the violation notice, aspirin, antibiotics and antacid pills were found in two jail cells.
“The jail policy states that the inmate must bring something to drink at medicine time,” Durborow said. “The jailer must observe the inmate take the meds and the jailer must check the inmates mouth to ensure the inmate swallows the pills.”
Durborow said jailers have been alerted of the procedural changes and a copy of the policy has been attached to the jail's medical cart as a reminder.
Among the other deficiencies were a wet floor in the “F-2” area and a self-serve ice chest in “B” pod.
“The wet floor was from a roof leak that has been patched since the inspection,” Durborow said. “We have removed the ice chest.”
The jail continues to have issues with overcrowding, which is the fourth violation cited by inspectors.
“We are working with the courts, the district attorney's office and the Department of Corrections to eliminate the overcrowding issue,” Durborow said.
This time last year, state Jail Inspector Don Garrison demanded that Ottawa County officials take care of the overcrowding and understaffing problems within the jail.
“You have two problems in your jail that never seem to be corrected,” Garrison told Durborow. “You are going to have to help me with this … overcrowding and understaffing are going to have to be corrected.”
Durborow said the jail is in compliance with state staffing requirements and has seen a reduction in overcrowding.
In addition to local inmates, the Ottawa County Jail contracts with the Department of Corrections to house prisoners for the state.
The contract brings between $250,000 to $300,000 a year in revenue to the county.
More than 50 jails in Oklahoma continually deal with overcrowding issues, according to Garrison.
State Rep. Larry Glenn, a former undersheriff in Ottawa County, told Garrison last year that the problem with overcrowding “is not going to get any better.”
According to Glenn, legislators continue to pass laws designed to incarcerate more people, but the state doesn't give the Department of Corrections enough money to house them.