Oklahoma County Detention Center Reaches Monitoring and Investigation Agreement with Oklahoma Disability Law Center


October 27, 2020


Brian Wilkerson, Director of Litigation and Legal Services

Oklahoma County Detention Center Reaches Monitoring and Investigation Agreement with Oklahoma Disability Law Center

The Oklahoma Disability Law Center, Inc. (ODLC) recently entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the Oklahoma County Detention Center (OCDC) to promote their mutual goal of protecting the human and legal rights of individuals with disabilities, including mental illness, and developmental disabilities.  The purpose of this agreement is to build a constructive working relationship between OCDC and ODLC and to facilitate ODLC’s access to the OCDC, its inmates, staff, and records to the fullest extent allowed under federal law.

Melissa Sublett, ODLC’s Executive Director, said, “As the Protection and Advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Oklahoma, ODLC is in the unique position of having federal access authority to monitor and investigate abuse and neglect of persons with disabilities in facilities, including jails and prisons. We believe this agreement is a major step toward improving medical and mental health care for inmates at the Oklahoma County Detention Center.”

The Memorandum of Understanding spells out OCDC’s agreement to facilitate ODLC’s access to the facility, staff, inmates, and records as permitted under federal law.  The agreement ensures ODLC staff will have full investigative and monitoring rights and access as outlined in the Protection and Advocacy for Individuals with Mental Illness (“PAIMI”) Act, 42 U.S.C. § 10801, et seq., the Developmental Disabilities Assistance and Bill of Rights (“DD”) Act, 42 U.S.C. § 15043, and Protection and Advocacy of Individual Rights (“PAIR”) Program; 29 U.S.C. § 794e and their accompanying regulations (The Acts).

“Our office has conducted investigations at OCDC in the past and sometimes we experienced obstacles or delays.  This agreement clearly defines our access rights and should make the process easier for both our staff and the staff at OCDC.  Our main goal with this agreement is to expedite the process of identifying and resolving any gaps or barriers to medical and mental health care.  We hope this agreement will result in both timelier access to care and improved quality of care for those individuals who need it.” said ODLC’s Director of Monitoring and Investigation, Joy Turner.

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OK County Detention Center MOU-Signed 10-13-2020 (1)