McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

July 26, 2013

The 27th marks the 40th anniversary of the historic 1973 OSP riot

McAlester News-Capital and Oklahoma Watch has teamed up for epic issue that commemorates the 40th anniversary of this event


Staff report

McALESTER — Forty years ago this weekend, prisoners at Oklahoma State Penitentiary banded together in what became a three-day riot, taking employees hostage, burning buildings and beating employees and each other. In the end, the riot was blamed for the deaths of three inmates, injuries to more than 20 and more than $20 million in damage. The infamously decrepit West Cellhouse was later closed and other reforms were instituted, most likely due to prison conditions revealed in the wake of the revolt. Today, the state’s only maximum-security men’s prison — home to Death Row and the most dangerous inmates in Oklahoma — houses a fraction of its 1973 inmate population. On Sunday, we’ll take an in-depth look at what happened on July 27, 1973, why it happened, and what the future looks like for one of McAlester’s biggest employers.