The White House and Vice announced Friday that President Obama will go to Oklahoma’s El Reno federal prison next week. The president’s impending prison visit is part of a Vice documentary, that will air on HBO, about the criminal justice system.
“There’s an emerging consensus in this country — on both the right and the left — that the way we treat criminal offenders is utterly broken and weakening our society in profound ways,” said Vice founder Shane Smith, who’s also hosting the special. “Visiting El Reno with President Obama — the first-ever visit to a federal prison by a sitting president — will give our viewers a firsthand look into how the president is thinking about this problem, from the policy level down to one-on-one conversations with the men and women living this reality. It’s going to be fascinating.”
Obama and Smith plan to tour the facility, and meet with its inmates and staff. The conversations had on the tour will be part of a special focusing on the impacts of crime and punishment in America, which is home to 25 percent of the world’s prison population but only 5 percent of its total population.
This will be the first-ever presidential visit to a federal prison, and the documentary is set to air in the fall.