Federal contract saves Cushing corrections jobs

The units at Cimarron Correctional Facility will be filled with federal prisoners awaiting trial, sentencing or transfer to another facility under a new contract with the U.S. Marshals Service. The agreement saves more than 200 local jobs. Provided

Cushing is celebrating an agreement that will save jobs at one of the city’s major employers.

The City of Cushing and CoreCivic, the owner of Cimarron Correctional Facility, announced Tuesday that they had entered into a detention services agreement with the U.S. Marshals Service that will bring federal prisoners to the facility located about 3 miles southwest of Cushing.

“Today the Board of Commissioners approved an agreement between CoreCivic and the U.S. Marshal Service, which will allow for the continued operation of the Cimarron Correctional Facility,” Cushing Board of Commissioners Chairman B.J. Roberson said. “For years, CoreCivic has been a large employer for Cushing and the surrounding area. We are thankful for this opportunity to retain jobs locally that otherwise may have been lost. We also appreciate CoreCivic’s long-standing partnership and look forward to a continued successful relationship.”

State prisoners held at the 1,650 bed prison were transferred to other facilities after the Oklahoma Department of Corrections announced it was cutting contracts with private prisons to make up for a $24 million budget decrease in fiscal year 2021.

CoreCivic chose to close the Cushing facility rather than agree to a contract that would have cut the number of beds the state paid for by 500.

The state prisoners have been gone for a couple of weeks, Cushing City Manager Terry Brannon said.

When the decision was announced in July, Cushing City Manager Terry Brannon told the News Press Cimarron Correctional Facility was among the city’s top 5 employers and an involved community partner.

In addition to being concerned about the economic impact on the prison’s approximately 290 employees and their families, he said he worried about how the shutdown would effect businesses that provide goods and services for the prison and the people associated with it.

The City of Cushing stood to lose an estimated $1 million in annual utility sales, he said.

Under the new agreement, federal prisoners will be held at Cimarron Correctional Facility pre-trial and while awaiting sentencing or transfer to another facility.

CoreCivic issued a statement Tuesday saying the new management contract with the U.S. Marshals Service will allow the company to transition without significantly disrupting operations. It plans to spend $500,000 - $1.5 million over the next few months in start-up costs related to the new agreement and will use existing staff.

The contract term began Tuesday with an initial term of three years. It’s subject to unlimited 24-month extensions upon mutual agreement.

"The United States Marshals Service is one of our largest and longest-standing government partners, and we are pleased to once again be able to answer the call to address their immediate needs," CoreCivic President and CEO Damon Hininger said in a statement released by the company.

Twitter: @mcharlesNP

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