‘Christian’ Prison Funding Rejected, Okla. Official Says

A proposed “Christian” prison in Wakita, Okla., will not receive public funding, an Oklahoma Department of Corrections official has assured Americans United.

A Texas-based ministry, Corrections Concepts, Inc., is behind the prison proposal, planning a 500-bed facility on 150 acres in Wakita. The facility, to be called Habitation Place, will employ only Christians and offer Christian programs.

The developer hoped to receive state funding through a government contract.

AU warned the Oklahoma Department of Corrections in a Nov. 18 letter not to provide public aid. The 8th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, AU noted, ruled against a similar religious program in Iowa in its 2007 Americans United v. Prison Fellowship Ministries decision.

“If the Department provides funding to Corrections Concepts’ prison,” AU attorneys insisted, “indoctrination will be the inevitable result, just as it was in Prison Fellowship Ministries. And just as inevitably, the funding of such indoctrination will violate the Constitution.”

After receiving AU’s letter, Justin Jones, director of the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, said he had no intention of getting involved with the Wakita prison.