The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

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December 30, 2013

Special Report: Actions by Fallin’s staff led to weakened state justice reforms

(Continued)

OKLAHOMA CITY —

HB 2042 was amended slightly and passed by the Senate but was never heard in conference committee. Mullins said the governor’s staff stopped pushing the bill because they didn’t think it had enough support. Murphey said the bill had become politically toxic.

Five days after the resignations, on March 19, Corrections Corporation of America’s political action committee provided a $4,000 donation to Fallin’s 2014 campaign. Ten days afterward, Fallin’s campaign accepted a $5,000 donation from Corrections Corporation lobbyist Tammie Kilpatrick.

Mullins denied that the meetings with private prison officials and the campaign donations played a role in the decisions and actions surrounding the JRI.

“They (campaign donations) have absolutely no influence. None at all,” he said.

Mullins said private prisons were not considered part of the JRI program, and he never recommended that they be included.

“There’s no direct end correlation to JRI,” he said.

Mullins said while he met annually with representatives from all private prison companies in the state, the meetings boiled down to basically the same thing: the companies inquiring about per-diem rates and pitching their product.

The March 13 Geo Group meeting with Mullins and Northrup’s urgent messages were unrelated, Mullins said; that meeting did not involve JRI.

“I don’t know (what was discussed in the meeting),” Mullins said. “They wouldn’t have anything to do with each other. We can’t pick private prisons. There’s nothing we can do about that. That’s the Department of Corrections totally.”

Mullins said Fallin’s position on incarceration facilities does not favor private prisons over state-run facilities, only the quality of the services provided.

“If private prisons can be cost-effective, if they can be more efficient, and if they can be accountable, then we’re for private prisons,” he said.

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