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Could OKC be getting a Stockyards jail?

11:01 AM EST on January 9, 2024

The saga of the new Oklahoma County Jail has taken another twist and turn.

Back in the fall, the Larry, Moe and Curly team who serve as our Oklahoma County Commissioners announced they had chosen a site near Will Rogers World Airport to serve as the new county jail

Unfortunately, they announced the news before they were cleared for take-off, only to have plans grounded by pesky regulations and the OKC airport trust. 

Now, with the future of airport jail being as shaky as the panels on a Boeing 737 Max 9, Commissioners are back to the old drawing board, looking for a new spot to house local inmates before they escape and cause a ruckus.

One Commissioner – Myles Davidson – seems to think a Stockyards Jail is the best idea.

Via a Jack Easy Money article in The Oklahoman:

The commissioner said he believes bringing a jail to May Avenue's east side between SW 15 and SW 8 actually could help the unincorporated area grow.

The county could use ARPA funds previously designated for building the mental health treatment center as part of the jail to drill a water well, install a new water tower and upgrade water and sewer services inside of the Stockyards City district, Davidson said…

The project could bring up to $600 million of new investment into that area (including the jail and mental health center), primarily through the relocation of bail bond and attorneys offices located near the jail's current location, the commissioner said.

Yep, nothing says promising new investment like an influx of lawyer and bail bonds offices. Maybe if the Stockyards are lucky, they’ll get a Dollar General and a Plaza Inn Motel, too?

For what it’s worth, I can totally get behind a Stockyards Jail, and not just because I want to see Ken Boyer go full country and start wearing a cowboy hat on his billboard and bus bench ads.

You have to admit, there’s something perfectly fitting about derelict humans being rounded up, processed, and imprisoned alongside their bovine brethren. Sure, the humans aren't also being auctioned to the highest bidder before being sent out to slaughter, but even the most humorless cows would give a chef’s kiss to that delicious irony.

There are other benefits, too. 

For example, they could give the new jail a country and western theme to pay homage to Oklahoma stereotypes and tropes!

They could make the jailers dress up like cowboys, install dirt floors in the jail cells, and only serve beans and cornbread in the cafeteria. The mugshots could even resemble those fancy old-time Western photos people get at amusement parks! Sure, that may seem a bit brutal and inhumane, but it’s still an improvement on our current hoosegow!

Plus, imagine how cool it will be when the first prisoner breaks out of the new jail, holds up Cattleman’s, and then rides off into the night on horseback with his loot. That would make a fun national news story. I wonder which vagabond group of deputies, bounty hunters, and former outlaws the sheriff will select when rounding up his posse?

Of course, there are some drawbacks to the plan. The biggest one is: Do we really want to put the jail in the Stockyards?

The area is an unpolished gem, and one of the few remaining spots in OKC with history, character, and no Scooters or On Cue. Well, at least for now. Basically, it's posed for refurbished growth and gentrification in the future. Do we really want to see all that dashed and ruined by slapping a jail in the middle of it?

I think the answer is “No.”

If you ask me, our County Commissioners are still sleeping on the perfect spot for a new jail. 

It’s located next to two interstates, has a massive footprint, and is just far enough away from schools and residential areas to appease all the NIMBYs. 

That area is, of course, Crossroads Mall.

Seriously, why has this not happened yet?

Whether the current ghost mall is refurbished into a jail or leveled to the ground for a new one, the spot is more than big enough, easy to access, and close enough to Valley Brook and cheap I-35 drug motels that released inmates won’t have to travel far to celebrate their freedom!

Hell, there’s even plenty of space for attorneys and bail bondsmen to set up shop. 

Other than it being too logical a spot, what’s the drawback? 

Anyway, whether it’s the airport, stockyards or some other dumb place, we’ll continue monitoring the situation. Until then, stay with The Lost Ogle. We’ll keep you advised.

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