Rep. Sanders Working to Help Watonga after Prison Layoff

OKLAHOMA CITY – State Rep. Mike Sanders said today he will be meeting with a private prison operator, Watonga officials and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections to discuss what can be done for workers laid off by the Diamondback Correctional Facility.

“My thoughts and prayers are with the families of these workers during this very difficult time,” said Sanders, R-Kingfisher. “We had hoped for the best. Over the course of the last few months, we had some encouraging signs that we were going to get the prison back open. With a Californiacourt ruling, it is clear now that the prison opening will be on hold. I am committed to working with the Corrections Corporation of America, the City of Watonga and the Department of Corrections to get this facility not only back up and running, but to also bring 300 or more jobs back to the community.”

In Friday’s issue of The Oklahoman, reporter Graham Lee Brewer wrote that the operators of the Diamondback Correctional Facility have announced the layoff of nearly 100 employees at the private prison. The facility became vacant after Arizona chose not to renew its contract. At that time in 2010, the Corrections Corporation of American laid off more than 300 workers. The current employees who are being laid off were hired as the company hoped to contract with California, but that state is no longer moving in that direction.

Sanders noted that the company has said it will do its best to provide opportunities to laid off employees at other facilities in the state including the Cimarron Correctional Facility in Cushing, theNorth Fork Correctional Center in Sayre and the Davis Correctional Center in Holdenville. 

The company will also bid to house Oklahoma inmates.


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