Oklahoma County commissioners last week approved initial steps last week to develop a new 2,800-bed jail that would replace the county’s 13-story lockup in downtown Oklahoma City.
Commissioners awarded a contract to a Georgia firm to develop a design plan and financing package for the detention center that will include adult and juvenile correctional facilities.
Commissioner Ray Vaughn said the new facility will cost about $330 million, compared to $300 million to bring the 20-year-old jail into compliance with federal regulations.
Voters will likely decide in early 2013 on a 0.5% increase in the county’s sales tax to finance the new jail. The tax would generate $77 million a year, Vaughn said, and would expire when the facility is completed. A permanent 0.25% sales tax for operations would then go to voters, he said.
The proposed jail would include double-bed cells for most prisoners, with single cells for security risks and a dormitory-style facility for minimum security inmates.
Vaughn said the county will also have to hire at least 200 additional security personnel for the expanded facility.