Okmulgee County Jail, Okmulgee, Oklahoma
September 22, 2014

An unknown number of prisoners participated in an uprising following an incident in which one prisoner expressed anger over being transferred. The uprising resulted in $10,000 of damage to the facility and involved prisoners setting fire to mattresses, breaking windows, barricading doors and flooding the unit.

The uprising came just a week after the ACLU of Oklahoma sent a letter to Oklahoma Corrections Director Robert Patton warning that, based on the numerous letters they were receiving from prisoners at the jail, a violent outcome was inevitable.

“The most concerning complaints are regarding LARC. We suspect this is due to the inmate surge caused by the clearing of county jail transport backlogs earlier this year, leading to an institutional bottleneck. As a whole, it appears inmates are spending far longer in LARC than usual, in some cases upwards of three months, all without many basic provisions available to inmates once they “pull yard,” such as proper toiletries and even underwear. It also appears that despite the predictability of this surge, basic preparations such as ensuring the availability of sufficient food, supplies, and staff, were never made.

These conditions, where combined with extreme understaffing, including reports of understaffed (and at times completely unstaffed) security posts, pose substantial risks of injury or death to both inmates and DOC staff. Unless such conditions improve quickly, it seems the dispositive question will not be if violence or outright riots will occur, but when.”

Citations:

Okmulgee County Jail Director Blames Overcrowding For Recent Riot“, News on 6, September 22, 2014. [Archive].

Oklahoma Corrections Professionals. (@OKCorrections). September 23, 2014. “Must read!! OCP just received a copy of the following letter from the ACLU of Oklahoma to Director Patton, dated August 29th.” [Facebook Post]. Accessed July 10, 2019.

In The Know: Okmulgee County jail director blames overcrowding for recent riot“, In the Know, September 24, 2014.