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Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma Watch is a non-profit organization that produces in-depth and investigative journalism on important public-policy issues facing the state. Oklahoma Watch is non-partisan and strives to be balanced, fair, accurate and comprehensive. The reporting project collaborates on occasion with other news outlets. Topics of particular interest include poverty, education, health care, the young and the old, and the disadvantaged.

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State Penitentiary Fades As Oklahoma Shifts Inmates To Private Prisons

Jul 29, 2013
Clifton Adcock / Oklahoma Watch

The Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester, the oldest prison in the state, has seen its inmate population fall to less than half of what it was five years ago as officials move hundreds of the state’s most dangerous convicts to private prisons.

The decline has been so steep that some state lawmakers, corrections guards and others wonder if “Big Mac,” as it is called, will become home to only Death Row and the execution chamber, or if the prison will eventually be closed.

Oklahoma Watch

Oklahoma continues to imprison people at one of the highest rates in the nation, ranking fourth in a newly released report from the federal Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Oklahoma, which has seen prison populations increase steadily over the past several decades, incarcerated 648 residents per 100,000 population in 2012, according to the study released Thursday by the bureau, part of the U.S. Department of Justice. That’s up 2.5 percent, an increase from 632 in 2011.

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