TULSA, Okla. (AP) — Officials in Tulsa have approved the purchase of 200 new portable beds to ease overcrowding at the Tulsa County jail.
The Tulsa County Commission approved the purchase of the beds, sometimes referred to as "boats," for $146 per bed, about $29,000 total, from Norix Group Inc. Monday night. The Tulsa World reports (http://bit.ly/ZN03jO ) that the jail has exceeded its 1,714-bed capacity since late last summer and that as of Monday night, the jail had 1,898 inmates.
Some jail officials predicted the number could reach 2,000 this summer.
The portable beds are made of hard plastic and keep inmates at least 14 inches off the ground when used as designed. Inmates are given a mattress, which is placed on top of the shell.
However, many inmates prefer to turn the beds upside down, Undersheriff Tim Albin said, and in that in that position, "they look like canoes."
In that position, the "boats" have sides, which some inmates find more comfortable and safe to sleep in, Albin said.
The new portable beds are in addition to 49 bunk beds that jail officials ordered last week. Those new beds, which will cost $9,548, are scheduled to arrive within six weeks and are to be installed along the walls and in classrooms in the jail's dorm-style pods.
The jail has exceeded its capacity every month since August, according to the Tulsa County Sheriff's Office and county Commissioner Fred Perry has said the county should renegotiate its jail contract with the city of Tulsa before it expires next year.
The county last month briefly stopped accepting municipal inmates, citing crowding.
According to the contract, the city pays $45 per prisoner per day for as many as 35 prisoners and $54.13 for every inmate beyond that number.
Sheriff Stanley Glanz has said that the payments amount doesn't cover his costs of housing the inmates.