Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Private Prison To Close in Oklahoma

HINTON - The Great Plains Correctional Facility will close indefinitely "the first week of April," leaving some 190 employees at the private prison without work, a company spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday.

"The decision to close came down to contract negotiations with DOC (state Department of Corrections)," said Christine Parker, a spokeswoman for the
Houston-based Cornell Companies Inc.

Only 290 state inmates remain at the private prison from a population that was once 800 as recent as October. State corrections spokesman Jerry Massie
said the remaining inmates are scheduled to be moved no later than April 6.

State guards began relocating inmates after prison officials announced they would not renew their state contract in October. Parker said the decision
came after months of negotiations.

At the time, a contract extension with the state was being discussed. Massie later said the extension wasn't necessary.

"The closure has nothing to do with the escapes,” Parker said. "We had already decided not to renew our contract with DOC by then.”

The prison closure is sure to send economic shockwaves through Hinton, a quaint Caddo County community of some 2,200 people.

Sayre experienced a similar closure in 2003 when the privately operated North Fork Correctional Facility was closed indefinitely, leaving some 225 workers unemployed in Beckham County. The prison re-opened three years later.

"We are in active discussions with several of our clients about inmates,” Parker said. "At this time, we don't have a contract with any of them.

"For now, we will maintain a skeleton crew at the prison after the closure.” Read article here (you will have to register first)

Colorado has 488 prisoners at a private prison in Oklahoma at the North Fork Facility.

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