By DARREN JAWORSKI
McALESTER — Oklahoma State Penitentiary traces back to 1908, when reformer Kate Barnard exposed brutal conditions in the Kansas Penitentiary, where Oklahoma inmates were being held. Within a few months the inmates were moved to McAlester, where they began helping build the prison, wrote Harjit Sandhu in his book, “History of Corrections in Oklahoma.” Much of the prison was destroyed in a 1973 riot, but new units were built in the 1980s and 1990s. Now, a large swath of the southern half of OSP is empty, as cellhouses have been closed and the rodeo is inactive. A new administration building is planned.