Fighting allegations addressed at Avalon halfway house in Tulsa


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Reported by: Price McKeon
Updated: 1/17 10:13 pm Published: 1/17 10:12 pm


For the first time FOX23 is hearing from the president of the Avalon halfway house about the decision to shut it down.

On FOX23 News at 5 Thursday we showed you this cellphone video of what inmates say were fights organized and bet on by guards inside the facility.
 
Friday, Avalon's president told us there is no evidence his staff took part in these fights.

FOX23 went to Oklahoma City for a board of corrections special meeting.

The board of corrections met in executive session for about two hours Friday.

That's when the board talked about the investigation at Avalon's Tulsa halfway house.

We weren't allowed in the meeting but we do know what the president of Avalon said to the board just days after corrections sent this letter ending Avalon's Tulsa contract. 

The president of Avalon told us he saw this fight video for the first time Thursday the same day FOX23 showed viewers.

"We confirmed it was our facility; it was two offenders that had previously resided there," Avalon's president Brian Costello said.

He says they also confirmed this happened in August of last year and didn't know about it until November.

"But we have no credible evidence to indicate our staff was involved in any way promoting, sanctioning, and urging on any of these fights," Costello said.

He says they aren't done with an internal investigation but at this point they have no credible evidence guards had anything to do with what inmates called a Tulsa fight club.

"There may be evidence out there to that effect and we certainly would like to know because we would take obvious immediate action if that was the case, Costello said.

The president continued to say Avalon's been running correctional facilities for 28 years and helped thousands of people get back on their feet after serving time.

"And from what we've seen that there's definitely ... issues," Costello said.

But he says those issues are issues every halfway house and correctional facility deals with when people are living close together.

"In the past year there might have been three or four fights in the facility, none of them organized by us or orchestrated by us," Costello assured us.

FOX23 was there as Costello asked the board to keep inmates at the Tulsa facility because he says more than a hundred inmates would lose their full-time jobs and dozens of employees would too.

As of today no one has left yet, no one has been pulled out of the facility.

But he says he knows it hasn't been 10 days since this letter so the order is still out there.

We found out both the state and an internal investigation is not complete yet.

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