Ch 9 - April 19, 2024 6:46 am

A state lawmaker is saying Oklahoma prisons are on the verge of riots due to conditions behind bars, but prison officials say the lawmaker is spreading false information.

Back and forth between Republican Representative Justin Humphrey, who chairs the House Criminal Justice and Corrections Committee and prison officials has happened before, but this war of words seems to be heating up.

He is now sounding the alarm over a lawsuit claiming inmates were locked in shower stalls for days at a time with inadequate food and water.

Prison officials say the incident was investigated and found that while inmates were temporarily held in showers after refusing other housing options, they were fed, had access to water, and were given restroom breaks.

“The Oklahoma Department of Corrections could be close to returning back under federal control or facing the horror of a prison riot,” Humphrey said. “This latest lawsuit should be a wakeup call to the governor, the state’s attorney general, and other legislators to take immediate action.”

Kay Thompson with the Department of Corrections said, “Rep. Humphrey’s incessant hateful rhetoric and continual attacks against ODOC and other law enforcement agencies showcase his lack of knowledge or insight into the operations of said agencies and disdain for public safety.”

That Oklahoma County Lawsuit was filed on behalf of seven inmates.

The Department of Corrections says they have stopped using showers as temporary holding cells.

This is not the first time the chairman and prison officials have gone back and forth, Humphrey claims rape and death numbers are on the rise.

Prison officials refuted that saying the number of prison homicides and suicides is down from 2022 to 2023, but the number of accidental deaths is up.

News 9 is still working through data, but it is not the end of the conversations over conditions in Oklahoma Prisons.


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