ODOC to operate Hinton prison
HINTON, Okla. (KSWO) - The Great Plains Correctional Facility in Hinton is expected to be fully operational by July 1, according to a press release from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections
ODOC announced Monday it had entered into an agreement to lease the facility its owner, The Geo Group. It will begin operating the facility in early May, and is expected to house up to 2,040 inmates and employ 264 corrections professionals, according to the press release.
Staffing limitations were cited as a major reason for the move. ODOC has leased North Fork Correctional Center from CoreCivic since 2016, and said the facility’s location in Sayre made recruiting and retaining staff difficult. The organization said it will not renew that lease agreement, and will give affected staff the opportunity to transfer to the Hinton location or other vacant positions.
The move is also expected to decrease costs. While the Great Plains facility’s 5.5-year lease is priced at over $9 million a year, ODOC says it will save the state around $3.7 million annually in lease costs alone.
“Opening Great Plains Correctional Facility is necessary for the agency as it continues to change the lives of those in its custody and its employees,” said Steven Harpe, ODOC director. “This move has an equally significant financial and public safety impact on Oklahoma, ensuring the state continues to be good stewards of taxpayers’ dollars while enhancing the agency’s ability to change lives for the better.”
The Great Plains Correctional facility opened in 1991 and was expanded in 2008. It was operated by the Geo Group and housed inmates for the Federal Bureau of Prisons and the states of Oklahoma and Arizona, but was depopulated after its contract with the Federal Bureau of Prisons ended.
With the addition of GPCF in Hinton and the subsequent depopulation of NFCC, ODOC said it will have 16 state-run institutions (14 male, two female) ranging from minimum to maximum security. ODOC also said it utilizes the services of two private facilities and one halfway house, as well as operating five community corrections centers.
CORRECTION: A previous version of this story erroneously stated The Geo Group would oversee prison operations beginning in May. The article was updated on April 25 to say ODOC was taking over the facility.
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