The Oklahoma Public Employees Association continues its efforts to educate the state legislative leaders about private prisons in Oklahoma. OPEA’s efforts come on the heels of concerns expressed by Board of Corrections member Ernest Godlove about the lack of transparency in the private prisons industry.
These same concerns were echoed by Representative Mike Shelton, D-Oklahoma City, in a recent press release. Shelton expressed his concerns that House bill 2129, the Private Prison Accountability and Transparency Act, would not be heard in the House Rules committee. This is an OPEA request bill that would require all private prisons in the state to abide by the Oklahoma Open Records Act.
“Private prisons receive public money to operate but they are not required to disclose information to the tax payer about their daily operations. We believe that private prisons should be as transparent as state government is they want public funding,” said OPEA Deputy Director Scott Barger.
OPEA provided information to every member of the state legislature regarding the history of the private prisons industry in Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Private Prison Compendium was compiled by the American Correctional Officer Intelligence Network and distributed to each office along with a bill briefing sheet on House Bill 2129.
“The compendium documents nearly every misstep by the private prison industry in Oklahoma,” said Barger. “OPEA’s partnership with ACOIN has been a valuable asset in continuing the fight against private prison.”