According to an internal Tulsa County Sheriff’s Office memo, the practice of allowing inmate work crews to work outside of the jail has been “abolished.”
The memo, sent by Chief Deputy John Bowman on Thursday to all TCSO employees, says that despite the program “being successfully utilized for decades, recent events and subsequent investigations” necessitated the change.
The memo was sent the same day an Internal Affairs investigation into the June 17 breach of the TCSO property room by an inmate worker was completed. Sheriff’s office spokesman Justin Green confirmed to The Frontier that a hearing took place for Sgt. Chris Pierce, who left inmate Jesse Preibe unsupervised for three hours the day Preibe allegedly took a number of packages of K2 (also known as synthetic marijuana) from the property room.
Green said he did not know the result of Pierce’s hearing.
Bowman’s memo said that the “financial benefits” of allowing inmate workers offsite are “outweighed by its potential risks.”
The order is “in effect until all applicable policies have been updated,” the memo states.
Green said inmate workers are ranked via security level. The lowest-level workers are only eligible to work in jail inmate pods, Green said, while higher levels can work in jail hallways, or help move furniture if a sheriff’s office employee changes offices.
Workers in the now abolished offsite program worked lawn care at county properties, Green said.
The evidence Preibe allegedly took from the property room was related to a high-profile multi-agency raid across Tulsa County in 2014 that resulted in the seizure of hundreds of pounds of K2.
Preibe, who allegedly placed the contraband in his rectum, a process called keistering, was charged Nov. 5 with possession of contraband, destroying evidence, assaulting a police officer and threatening an act of violence and arrested about three weeks later.
A search warrant filed in June stated that responding jail staff noticed Preibe was “bleeding heavily from his rectal area” and had blood “seeping through (the) rear of his pants.”
Preibe stated “he urgently needed to use the bathroom,” the affidavit states.
Preibe was taken to a solitary “suicide watch” cell, where he was observed via closed circuit television sitting on a toilet, reaching between his legs and “making pulling movements.”
Investigators removed him from the cell and found a “large amount of blood” and a “green leafy substance” floating in the water, as well as a retail foil packet “associated with the sale and packaging of the synthetic marijuana.”
Preibe was given an X-ray, which showed a “large black object” remained in Preibe’s rectal cavity.
The affidavit filed last month states that the other inmate who was with Preibe at the time of the alleged theft told investigators Pierce left Preibe unsupervised for three hours.
The TCSO inmate jail handbook states “Inmate workers assigned to work outside of secured areas must remain under direct visual supervision of detention personnel at all times.”