Oklahoma Jail Uses Medieval 'Crucifixion Cuffing' to Punish Prisoners, ACLU says
The Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation issued a report regarding the treatments of inmates at the Kay County Detention Center.
Jail Administrator Don Jones admitted to the practice in an interview.
A practice known as "crucifixion" was happening to unruly inmates inside the jail as a form of punishment.
"It is exactly what the name implies," Brady Henderson, legal director of the American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma, said.
"The key feature of a ‘crucifixion’ handcuffing is that you take a detainee's arms and you put one one direction as far as it will go and you put the other the other direction as far as it will go."
The ACLU is now also looking into the issues at the jail.
"Crucifixion cuffing is not that dissimilar from the rack: an old torture means used in medieval Europe," Henderson said.
"The concept is just to painfully stretch somebody and in this case instead of wanting them to talk or wanting them to do a particular thing you are doing it as a punishment."
Henderson said one inmate was cuffed in the crucifixion position for so long, the cuffs cut into his wrists, cutting him to bleed.
The Kay County Detention is run by a trust and not a sheriff's office.
Kay County Jail Director says he doesn't think the practice is still happening after the investigation by the OSBI began.
"As far as I know it is not," he said, adding the punishment was inappropriate.
In a separate incident identified by the ACLU, a jail supervisor put rival gang members together in a common area.
A fight ensued with members of a white supremacist gang beating and injuring an African-American inmate.
"There is only one reason to do that," Henderson said about the jailer putting rival gang members together, "and that is if you basically want to have a gladiator school; that is the term that is often used, slang term in jails and prisons."
No criminal charges were ever filed against the inmates who jumped the man, stabbing him.
Jones admitted the man was stabbed in an email, but later tried to deny it claiming he actually meant the opposite and blamed the "auto-correct" feature.
"I understand that, auto correct, he was not stabbed if anything he might have been cut, a stab and a cut is two different things."
Jones told a trust member a "white boy" who "knocked the crap" out of an African-American inmate "was one of the biggest [sic] bully's we have had," Jones wrote in another email, adding the "whiteboy" had "totally 'punked' him out."
"Take what you want out of it," Jones told Fox 25.
The ACLU of Oklahoma says it's still in the beginning phases of its investigation, but it will be interviewing current and former jail employees as well as current and former inmates.
Kay County District Attorney Brian Hermanson, who has been in possession of the case for several weeks, denied to comment on the case.
Hermanson said he will not be handing it over to any outside agencies to investigate.