Oklahoma Lawmakers Ask Biden To Prevent Closure Of Hinton Private Prison

Thursday, April 15th 2021, 8:43 pm
By: Barry Mangold


Three members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation asked President Joe Biden to prevent the upcoming closure of a privately-run federal prison in Hinton. 

Senators James Lankford, Jim Inhofe and Rep. Frank Lucas sent a letter to Biden on Wednesday, requesting he suspend an executive order that directs the Department of Justice to no longer renew contracts with private companies to operate detention facilities. 

"We believe your order is imprudent and will not serve the interest of Oklahoma or the nation,” the letter stated. 

The order, issued in late January, was one of Biden’s first actions when he took office. 

“There is broad consensus that our current system of mass incarceration imposes significant costs and hardships on our society and communities and does not make us safer,” Biden’s order read. “To decrease incarceration levels, we must reduce profit-based incentives to incarcerate.” 

The Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton, west of Oklahoma City, is operated by the GEO Group, a private company based in Florida. The company’s contract to operate the facility, which expires in May, was not renewed by the Federal Bureau of Prisons. 

In their letter, the three Republicans said the closure of the correctional facility will cost Hinton more than 200 jobs and millions in annual local tax revenue. 

"Your blanket order... will devastate the economy of Hinton during a challenging economic environment,” the letter stated, in part.

Business owners and local officials told News 9 last month the prison’s closure will have a negative effect on the city economy.