OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Several members of Oklahoma’s congressional delegation are urging President Joe Biden to suspend his executive order shutting down private federal prisons, saying they expect the move to mean a privately operated prison in Hinton would close.
U.S. Sens. Jim Inhofe and James Lankford, along with U.S. Rep. Frank Lucas, sent Biden a letter on Wednesday. They say his order will result in the closure of the Great Plains Correctional Institution in Hinton, which houses more than 1,200 federal offenders. The facility is operated by the private prison company The Geo Group and employs more than 250 people.
“Your blanket order, made without assessing needs or conditions at specific facilities, will devastate the economy of Hinton during a challenging economic environment caused by the COVID-19 pandemic,” the letter states.
Biden in January ordered the Justice Department to end its reliance on private prisons.
Two other federal prison facilities in Oklahoma — the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution and the Federal Transfer Center in Oklahoma City — are not expected to be affected by the order.