OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – A woman who recently bonded out of the Oklahoma County Detention Center is covered in large bed bug bites and claims she was denied water while she was in the jail.
“This is me being out since Monday and applying alcohol three times a day to my face, to everything on my body with the topical cream and the steroids that they gave me at the hospital,” Ashley Fox told KFOR while showing a News 4 crew large bed bug bites on her arms.
Her chest and her face are also covered in bites that she said she received while she was in the Oklahoma County Jail earlier this week.
“Our cell did not have working water in the sink. Every time I asked for something to drink, I did not have a cup, every time I asked, I got denied. They told me I should not have came to jail. Got the door slammed in my face,” she said.
Fox said she spoke with Greg Williams, Jail Administrator, after she left the jail. He told her there were no bed bugs in her cell. She also claims when she told him she was going to speak with News 4, he told her not to.
“He said there’s already been enough media news, [and that] he’s trying to get everything taken care of. He’s newer, I guess, only been here for about a year or something. He’s trying to get the issues resolved, he’s doing an investigation, but I just don’t feel like he is,” Fox said.
In a statement sent to News 4 on Wednesday, Williams said the following:
“The Jail Trust and our entire staff are committed to improving the conditions inside the jail, and we welcome any reports of issues to address.
We’ve increased our investment in pest treatment to $10,000 a month for the facility, including bedbugs. Starting work in August 2021, by the end of December, we will have sprayed the entire facility at least twice. The person who recently reported bedbugs to the media was housed on the 6th floor, which was treated on Oct. 30, four days before she was booked into the jail.
Immediately upon receiving the complaint, staff inspected the cell she stayed in and surrounding cells. We did not find any evidence of bedbugs. The entire 6th floor was sprayed again Nov. 10, as scheduled. We will continue to be diligent in our response to this pressing issue, including using a heat shed to clean infected mattresses.
Additionally, we provide all people in custody with basic needs such as water. Two witnesses to the conversation have refuted the allegation a former detainee was told not to speak to the media. We respect people in detention’s right to free speech.
The health and safety of people in custody and staff remain our highest priorities.
The heat shed is just one of many other improvements the Jail Trust has been making. The shed heats the mattresses to 130 degrees. The heat kills bedbugs, larva and eggs. We are very satisfied with the results of the shed. The entire process takes 90 minutes. Mattresses are cleaned before given to new inmates (if not a new one). Along with cleaning them we also have a standing order for 100-200 mattresses a month. We’ve purchased more than 3,000 since we took over in July 2020.”GREG WILLIAMS, OKLAHOMA COUNTY DETENTION CENTER ADMINISTRATOR
“We still have rights to water. We still have rights to showers and medical treatment, and every time I called on the medical line, even they were rude. Just basically told me there was nothing she could do,” Fox said.
Back in September, a county judge granted Oklahoma County District Attorney David Prater’s request for a grand jury investigation into how the jail is being operated by the jail trust, which took over operations of the jail in July of 2020.