etween 2009 and 2018, 215 people died in Oklahoma jails, according to data from the Oklahoma State Department of Health.
In 2019, The Frontier is launching a project to track every jail death in the state. We’re calling this project Cell by Cell.
We hope to uncover more about how and why people die in Oklahoma jails. Each of the state’s 77 counties has at least one jail, and several cities have police lockups. In rural parts of the state, deaths often go unnoticed, and occasionally, unreported.
Know of an incident we missed? Email us at email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org.
More from this series:
“We do have space in our juvenile facility for these kids and they shouldn’t be held in our jail.” — Oklahoma County Commissioner Carrie Blumert
The Frontier is tracking every jail death in Oklahoma in 2019. We hope to uncover more about how and why people die in Oklahoma jails.
Oklahoma jails that hold minors aren’t subject to the same standards or state oversight as juvenile detention centers.
Construction of the Oklahoma County jail was funded by a temporary penny sales tax that built the problem-riddled facility. But there was no new, permanent source of revenue to totally pay for the maintenance and upkeep of the jail after the sales tax expired.
The Jail Inspection Division used to be staffed by four employees. Now, the agency has only one full-time and one part-time employee inspecting more than 100 jails in the state.
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