OSP inmate wants rodeo stopped

Sunday, August 22nd 2004, 10:39 am
By: News On 6

McALESTER, Okla. (AP) _ An Oklahoma State Penitentiary inmate wants to stop the annual Oklahoma State Prison Rodeo because of alleged mistreatment of prisoners at the facility.

Inmate Michael C. Washington mailed legal papers seeking a temporary restraining order to the Pittsburg County court clerk's office.

Washington asked the courts to stop OSP Warden Mike Mullin and the Oklahoma Department of Corrections from hosting the event, which is scheduled for Sept. 3-4 at the OSP Prison Rodeo arena.

In legal papers filed to support his request, Washington alleges that inmates in the maximum-security prison are being deprived of their ``rights and privileges.''

Besides an injunction, Washington wants the courts to send a private investigation team to the prison and to issue a declaratory judgment that inmates' rights have been violated.

``Prison officials are arbitrarily and with malice and forethought, depriving inmates who are illiterate and uneducated the right to a worthwhile education,'' Washington said in his petition.

Inmates participating in the school curriculum at the prison attend classes one day a week on average, he said.

``And the reason for that is because there are only two teachers who work in the prison, and who are responsible for educating at least 1,500 inmates,'' the paperwork states.

``The DOC absolutely refuses to hire two more teachers which unquestionably shows their blatant and intractable lack of respect for inmates to become productive citizens once they reintegrate back into society.''

A DOC spokesman couldn't be immediately reached for comment on Saturday.

The inmate alleged that the only reason the DOC wants the rodeo to go on is for ``economic reasons, in total disregard for the way inmates are being treated inside the prison.''

Washington is serving 35-year prison term on a 1977 Oklahoma County conviction of robbery with a dangerous weapon.