The Department of Corrections appears to be standing firm in its decision to depopulate a Tulsa Halfway House amid investigations.
"One of them does involve the inmate fighting," said D.O.C. Public Information Officer Jerry Massie.
Earlier this week, the D.O.C. sent a letter to Avalon Correctional Services saying it was essentially shutting down the Tulsa facility.
The letter stated, "The agency currently has three (3) active investigations looking into failures of the Avalon administration in the Tulsa facility. Preliminary evidence in the investigations have revealed serious infractions involving count, security, possession of contraband and offender safety."
Tulsa attorney Louis Bullock released cell phone video of Avalon inmates gambling on inmate fights.
Avalon CEO Brian Costello spoke before the D.O.C.'s board Friday morning. He sent a copy of his address to Channel 8. He said the fight took place August 24th of last year and was not reported.
He told the board, "We found no credible evidence to indicate that this incident was supported or instigated by staff or that it was an on-going concern."
Costello suggested replacing the Tulsa facility's administrator and implementing constant surveillance for offender safety.
The D.O.C. said no changes have been made as a result of Costello's comments.
Bearwood Concepts, Inc. currently has nine Avalon residents on its production staff. Management feared D.O.C. would re-assign all of them and they would lose those employees. Vice President Ken Hird spoke with D.O.C. Thursdayand learned that only three employees will not be able to continue working for him.
"We're not happy but we're certainly much more happy than we were," Hird said.
Tulsa's Avalon facility confirms there are 40 employees and about 210 inmates. An employee said so far, the D.O.C. has not relocated any of them.
Deputies with the Haskell County Sheriff's Office stated that Edward Branch escaped the jail Tuesday morning. Jail employees noticed he was missing and began their search for him around the jail.More >>
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