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Boggs to host tour at OSP

Nov 12, 2015 | by Lynn Powell

State senators, a local representative and the McAlester mayor were set to tour Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester today. District 7 state Sen. Senator Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak, said he anticipates touring the facility with Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton and six other state senators. Those senators are District 31 state Sen. Don Barrington, District 29 state Sen. John Ford, District 8 state Sen.Roger Thompson, District 4 state Sen. Mark Allen, District 18 state Sen. Kim David and District 26 state Sen. Darcy Jech, all Republicans. Also confirmed on the trip will be McAlester Mayor Steve Harrison and District 17 state Representative Dr. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester. Boggs said he expects about 30 people will take the tour in all.

By PARKER PERRY  STAFF WRITER  | Posted 7 hours ago

State senators, a local representative and the McAlester mayor were set to tour Oklahoma State Penitentiary in McAlester today.

District 7 state Sen. Senator Larry Boggs, R-Red Oak,  said he anticipates touring the facility with Oklahoma Department of Corrections Director Robert Patton and six other state senators. Those senators are District 31 state Sen. Don Barrington, District 29 state Sen. John Ford, District 8 state Sen.Roger Thompson, District 4 state Sen. Mark Allen, District 18 state Sen. Kim David and District 26 state Sen. Darcy Jech, all Republicans.

Also confirmed on the trip will be McAlester Mayor Steve Harrison and District 17 state Representative Dr. Brian Renegar, D-McAlester. Boggs said he expects about 30 people will take the tour in all.

“What I am looking at is the condition of the building for one thing,” Boggs said. “We have to start making our prisons very safe for the men and women who work out there.”

Boggs said he has found many examples where correctional officers have left the Department of Corrections because of unsafe conditions at prisons. He also said he plans to pitch the idea of justice reform.

“Our prison system is in very bad shape as far as I’m concerned,” Boggs said. “There is a big push for private prisons but my view is to try to fix the prisons we have. We have people put in prison and we need to to take a look at how we do this. We keep putting a Band-Aid on the problem that is a bleeding artery and it’s not working.”

Boggs said he believes programs for inmates who are just exiting prison will help. He also said Oklahoma needs to examine how it handles its drug problem.

He also said overworked district attorney’s offices are underfunded and often times overworked.

“Our DAs only get .6 percent of the budget,” Boggs said. “The justice system definitely has to be looked at. We have looked at it for years.”

Boggs also said this is not his first state prison tour. He said he’s been to multiple prisons and has always felt criminal justice was a critical issue facing the state.

“This prison deal is important to me,” Boggs said.

The senator said before he ran for office he was a part of a prison ministry that tried to help inmates find spirituality. He said Oklahomans living by religious principles can slash crime numbers.

“We’ve lost our moral compass,” Boggs said. “We don’t know what is right and wrong. I can’t legislate mortality. That comes from the foundation. That comes from the people.”

 

Contact Parker Perry at pperry@mcalesternews.com