By Nick Woodruff
STILLWATER, Okla. —
There are two jails within two blocks of each other but the closest juvenile facility to Stillwater is in Lincoln County.
Even though plans of turning the city jail into a juvenile facility are still on the table, they have to wait until the state legislature passes next year’s budget.
Stillwater Public Safety Director Norman McNickle said he remembered when the jail was built and would like to see it transformed into a new juvenile facility.
“I watched the county jail being built; literally watched it go up,” McNickle said. “It seemed absolutely silly for the taxpayers to pay for two facilities and two different staffs and expenses for the same purpose within two blocks of each other.”
Neither the county jail nor the city jail are certified to house juveniles, McNickle said.
The county jail has some extra room, McNickle said, and the city jail would be better utilized if it was transformed and the county jail held the city’s inmates.
The Office of Juvenile Affairs has to fund and operate any juvenile center in the state of Oklahoma, according to state law, McNickle said
Once the state agency appropriates the funding and operation of the juvenile facility the city could run it. The transformation would not cause anyone to lose his or her job but would change his or her roles at the facility, he said.