Oklahoma Prisoners Say They Were Locked In Filthy, Tiny Shower Stalls for Days

At least one inmate claims that the shower stalls, which were just 3 feet by 3 feet, were covered in human feces.


Several inmates in an Oklahoma prison say they were locked in filthy shower stalls, some as small as 2 feet by 2 feet,* for days on end. In a lawsuit filed last week, the inmates claim that this treatment caused "severe physical and emotional suffering," and was an obvious violation of their Eighth Amendment rights.

According to the suit, staff at the Great Plains Correctional Center locked several inmates in small shower stalls for extended periods, without access to basic amenities like adequate food and water. Most were placed in 3-foot by 3-foot shower cells, though at least one was confined in an even smaller space. Confinement periods listed in the suit ranged from 24 hours to four days. 

The suit describes harrowing conditions for inmates held in the shower stalls. They allege they were placed in stalls filled with human feces and deprived of bathroom breaks. Additionally, several inmates say the only water they had access to was scalding hot shower water.

One prisoner confined in the shower stalls says he was repeatedly pepper sprayed during his detention in the ad hoc solitary cell. Another inmate claims that he was left without clothing, and had to borrow a shirt from an inmate in an adjoining stall—a shirt he later used to attempt suicide. That same inmate claims that he wasn't confined for any formal disciplinary infraction, but instead because guards knew that he was a sex offender.

"This systemic practice, akin to an unofficial custom, involved the use of shower stalls for extended confinement, often without even a bucket for defecating or any drinking water save scalding water from the shower," the suit reads. "The conditions were recognized by some members of the prison staff as violations of civil and human rights…some sympathetic staff members attempted to address these harsh conditions but faced internal conflict."

According to the suit, the state of Oklahoma launched an investigation into prisoner treatment at the facility in August 2023—around the same time as many of the alleged confinements. Shockingly, this investigation found that several different Oklahoma facilities regularly locked inmates in shower stalls.

While the state's investigation eventually led to the end of shower cell confinement, the suit argues that inmates are still owed unspecified damages. 

"The Plaintiffs were subject to prolonged confinement in feces-laden shower cells, under conditions lacking basic amenities like restroom facilities, proper bedding, a space to sit or lie down, drinking water, as well as basic humane treatment, which amounted to cruel and unusual punishment," the suit reads. "Despite the obvious and egregious nature of these conditions, the Defendants showed deliberate indifference to the Plaintiffs' health, safety, and basic human rights."

*CORRECTION: This piece previously misstated the size of the shower stalls.