A former Oklahoma jail supervisor was sentenced to federal prison after prosecutors said he allowed Black inmates to be attacked by white supremacist inmates, according to court records.
Matthew Ware, 53, was sentenced to 46 months in federal prison followed by three years of supervised release after being convicted of “violating the civil rights of three pretrial detainees” held at the Kay County Detention Center, the U.S. Attorney’s Office of the Western District of Oklahoma said in a Monday, Dec. 5, news release.
Neither the Kay County Detention Center nor Ware’s attorneys immediately responded to McClatchy News’ request for comment on Dec. 6.
Ware was convicted by a federal jury in April 2022 in connection with two incidents at the Kay County Detention Center, McClatchy News previously reported.
While third-in-command at the jail, Ware ordered correctional officers to move two Black inmates into a cell row that housed white supremacist inmates “whom Ware knew posed a danger” to the Black inmates, according to a sentencing memo filed on Nov. 15. He ordered correctional officers to unlock both cells at the same time the next morning.
The officers followed his orders in May 2017, court documents said. When the cell doors opened the next day, the white inmates attacked the Black inmates, injuring both. One needed stitches.
While second-in-command of the jail, Ware ordered correctional officers to restrain another pretrial detainee in a “stretched-out position,” prosecutors said in the release. The inmate’s wrists were handcuffed to opposite sides of a bench, and he was left in that position for 90 minutes, causing him bodily harm, the release said.
Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said in the releasethat Ware is “being held accountable for abusing his position of power and authority.”
“This sentence handed down reflects the seriousness of the defendant’s actions and ensures accountability for his unlawful conduct,” Clarke said. “The Justice Department will continue to hold corrections officials accountable, including those in leadership positions, when they willfully violate the constitutional rights of detainees and inmates in their custody and control.”
As a convicted felon, Ware “will never again serve as a law enforcement officer,” the sentencing memo said.
Kay County Detention Center is in Newkirk, about 120 miles northeast of Oklahoma City.