President Obama to Make First-ever Presidential Visit to a Federal Prison for Upcoming "VICE" Special On America's Broken Criminal Justice System
VICE special will air this fall on HBO, offering an in-depth look into the dire impact the current criminal justice system is having on millions of Americans
America is home to 5 percent of the world's population, but 25 percent of the world's prison population; prison population has risen 700 percent since 1970
Brooklyn, NY (July 10, 2015) - Today, the White House announced that President Obama will visit the El Reno federal prison in Oklahoma next week to participate in a VICE special on America's criminal justice system, making him the first sitting president ever to visit a federal prison.
As part of the VICE special airing this fall on HBO, President Obama and VICE founder Shane Smith, host of the special, will tour the facility and meet with prisoners, prison staff, and law enforcement officials.
El Reno is a medium security prison facility located in central Oklahoma, which houses 1,300 inmates convicted of violating federal law.
The interviews will be part of a broader HBO documentary looking at the pervasive impacts of America's approach to crime and imprisonment, chronicling the many interlocking pieces of the sprawling system, from prisoners and their families to the judiciary and community reformers.
The special is the latest in VICE's ongoing coverage of what's becoming a major civil rights and reform agenda in the United States.
VICE Founder Shane Smith said, "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. 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."