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Many in northwest Oklahoma are devastated after learning a major employer, the Fort Supply prison, will close soon. There was even a letter-writing campaign in the past with community members begging to keep William S. Key Correctional Center open. But the news broke Wednesday that it will close.KOCO 5 spoke to a state representative from the area who said this is going to have a ripple effect across several towns. “139 jobs and that affects some 400 family members,” State Rep. Carl Newton said. “Ft. Supply is a small community and it’s not like Oklahoma City. Nobody is going to drive down the road a few miles and find another job. You got all sorts of emotion. Anger, you got frustration because it’s happened, and you can’t do anything about it.”Newton said there are many impacts of the prison shutting down from economic to school attendance, even the hospital in Buffalo where inmates go to receive treatment.“The ripple effect you mention is huge because generally, a local dollar will turn over seven times before it leaves the area,” Newton said. “The fact that the Buffalo hospital is going to be losing that income from the state, it’s going to be a great burden on them.”Newton said folks come from towns nearby to earn a paycheck at the prison.“Come in from Woodward, Laverne, Buffalo, Ft. Supply. They planned on staying there, they want to stay in the community, the community took pride in making sure they did a good job. That’s what makes it even harder,” Newton said.Because it’s minimum security, the inmates are able to take on different tasks.“The prison had a farm program. There’s a mental health facility very near there and a historical site near there and I know the Department of Corrections helped with maintenance there too. It was one of the heartbeats of the community,” Newton said. Officials with the Department of Corrections said they plan to close it by the end of the year because the cost of upkeep and repair is too much to handle.Meanwhile, Newton said he and even the governor will be trying to find something else to go into the facility to repurpose it and hopefully employ Oklahomans.

Many in northwest Oklahoma are devastated after learning a major employer, the Fort Supply prison, will close soon.

There was even a letter-writing campaign in the past with community members begging to keep William S. Key Correctional Center open. But the news broke Wednesday that it will close.

KOCO 5 spoke to a state representative from the area who said this is going to have a ripple effect across several towns.

“139 jobs and that affects some 400 family members,” State Rep. Carl Newton said. “Ft. Supply is a small community and it’s not like Oklahoma City. Nobody is going to drive down the road a few miles and find another job. You got all sorts of emotion. Anger, you got frustration because it’s happened, and you can’t do anything about it.”

Newton said there are many impacts of the prison shutting down from economic to school attendance, even the hospital in Buffalo where inmates go to receive treatment.

“The ripple effect you mention is huge because generally, a local dollar will turn over seven times before it leaves the area,” Newton said. “The fact that the Buffalo hospital is going to be losing that income from the state, it’s going to be a great burden on them.”

Newton said folks come from towns nearby to earn a paycheck at the prison.

“Come in from Woodward, Laverne, Buffalo, Ft. Supply. They planned on staying there, they want to stay in the community, the community took pride in making sure they did a good job. That’s what makes it even harder,” Newton said.

Because it’s minimum security, the inmates are able to take on different tasks.

“The prison had a farm program. There’s a mental health facility very near there and a historical site near there and I know the Department of Corrections helped with maintenance there too. It was one of the heartbeats of the community,” Newton said.

Officials with the Department of Corrections said they plan to close it by the end of the year because the cost of upkeep and repair is too much to handle.

Meanwhile, Newton said he and even the governor will be trying to find something else to go into the facility to repurpose it and hopefully employ Oklahomans.

(Excerpt) Read more Here | 2021-06-18 09:00:00

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