McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Police/Courts

April 20, 2012

CEO group visits OSP

McALESTER — Members of an exclusive group of executives visited the Oklahoma State Penitentiary Thursday afternoon.

The Young Presidents Organization is an international group which has chapters all around the world, according to groups website at www.ypo.org. To join YPO, an individual must be 45 years of age or younger, must be a CEO/CFO, president or equivalent and must be in charge of a company or organization that has a total employee compensation of minimum of $1,000,000.

Members from the Tulsa and Oklahoma City chapters joined together to tour OSP. Approximately 80 CEOs and their family members embarked on a journey into Oklahoma’s Department of Corrections and viewed first-hand how life is behind bars in a maximum security prison.

“This is a group of CEOs from Oklahoma City and Tulsa who are getting an experience of Oklahoma corrections and learning about how the system works. Hopefully, we will be able to take what we learn and apply it to our businesses,” said Renzi Stone, CEO of Saxum and YPO group chairman.

OSP Warden’s Assistant Terry Crenshaw said, “This is just one of the many things we do at OSP to try to educate and provide a more informative view of corrections to the leaders and citizens in the state of Oklahoma.”

OSP Deputy Warden Linda Morgan said, “I think it is always beneficial to both the employees and the public to interact in order for the public to have a more in-depth understanding of corrections. I’m very proud of this facility because of its history. I am also very proud of the staff that work here because this is a difficult job. I think it is great when the public comes in ... it gives us a chance to dispel a lot of preconceived notions regarding corrections. We get a chance to say, ‘Welcome to our world. Welcome to a society within a society.’ That’s what OSP is, a society within a society.”

An OSP inmate, shackled and cuffed, spoke to the group. The inmate, John Fisher, came from a similar background as the CEOs. He came from a wealthy family and was attending college at the age of 19 when he was arrested for murder. Fisher was also a CEO at the age of 19, and had more than 20 employees. However, he “was a business entrepreneur in the criminal world,” Workman said. “He ended up being involved in a murder case which resulted in a life without parole sentence when he was 19.”

When speaking to the group, Fisher said, “My activities as a 19-year-old have decided where I must be for the rest of my life. I wish someone could see that I am a different person today than when I was 19, when I was just a kid.”

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