Oklahoma City, Okla. (KOKH) — The heated discussion continues over the Oklahoma County commissioners’ decision to give most of its $34 million in CARES Act funding to the county jail.
The jail trust voted Monday to accept the first $3 million for the jail, which will go to pay hero pay for employees and additional maintenance people, as needed to respond to COVID-caused conditions.
Protesters filled Monday’s meeting upset with trust’s decision to accept its money. Many in the crowd say the COVID-19 relief money should go toward other important services in the community, like rental or business assistance instead of the Oklahoma County Jail.
A doctor who works inside the jail said there are currently 247 positive COVID cases and 231 of them are inmates.
Trust Chairwoman Tricia Everest says the jail wasn’t created with the idea that any medical services would ever be in there and says it's in crisis during this pandemic.
"Knowing that there's 1,675 people that are in our care right now, much less our employees and their health and well-being, we need to do anything we can to identify how to fill the medical triage," said Everest. "In my role as the chair, we shouldn’t reject any funds that come to be able to improve the lives of those that we’re serving right now."
The Trust was also supposed to discuss the second $3 million for capital improvements, including plumping and air ventilation.
The meeting was cut to just one hour because there was another meeting with Oklahoma County Commissioners in the same room. 17 people were signed up to speak during public comment, but only three people were allowed to talk.
The Oklahoma County Jail Trust is planning on discussing the second $3 million meant for capital improvements, as well as the $34 million next Monday.