McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

June 16, 2013

Inmate population at OSP reduced

By Rachel Petersen
Staff Writer

McALESTER — In recent months, the inmate population at the Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester has been reduced.

The prison has closed multiple cell blocks and is in the process of closing additional cell blocks.

“Some of the changes that have already occurred are the closing of G- and I-Units,” said Terry Crenshaw, OSP warden’s assistant. “With the closing of these two units, Oklahoma State Penitentiary will only house maximum-security offenders. Both units were old and not efficient to operate.

“After the closing of G- and I-Units, the department focused efforts on the closing of the F-Cell House that was constructed in 1935. The F-Cell House also was an old unit and not cost efficient to operate. It takes numerous staff members to move offenders to exercise in the F-Cell House. The unit was dangerous with the open bars and due to the multiple levels of the F-Cell House it took a large number of staff to operate.”

Crenshaw said the changes being made at OSP are to enhance security and the working environment for the employees and the offenders. OSP “has closed the G- and I-Unit and the F-Cell House without incident,” Crenshaw said. “Currently we are in the process of closing C-Unit also. The security staff will be re-assigned to other units at the facility to make it a safer place to work. The goal is to reduce the facility offender population to approximately 600 offenders.”

Crenshaw said Senate Bill 1988 provided $2.9 million for security enhancements and renovations at OSP. “A new administration building will be built as well as enhancing perimeter security by installing a stun fence,” Crenshaw said. “The department is in the planning stages of these two projects.”

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