Deputy Chief Jay Russell said, "We have all this talent right here under our roof, our goal is to use it to save the taxpayers money. lets use it to build their own house."
This tent started off as temporary housing for up to 80 inmates who had to be moved from the Gulf Coast after Hurricane Katrina. Over the years, it has evolved into necessary housing for a crowded jail. This used to be an army tent, and they've boarded it up and upgraded it over the years. But the state fire marshal says, that's not enough.
The fire marshal says tent city is unsafe and not up to code. It doesn't have a sprinkler system or handicap accessible bathrooms. Jail officials have to upgrade the system or ship off 80 inmates.
Warden Brian Newcomer said, "Now its to the point where its not price or cost effective to do that." Losing 80 inmates would cost OCC more than $700,000 in state funding. It would also take away free labor, many local agencies depend on.
Russell said, "These inmates go out everyday and you can ask anyone in those facilities, that have them. We can't function without those inmates. They save us tens of thousands, of dollars a year"
So instead of improving tent city, they're planning to build a new structure for inmates, by inmates.