President Barack Obama next week will visit a federal prison in Oklahoma as part of a Vice special on the criminal justice system, the White House announced Friday. The visit will make Obama the first sitting president to visit a federal prison.
Accompanied by Vice president and host of the special Shane Smith, Obama will tour El Reno federal prison and meet with inmates, prison staff and law enforcement officers. The interviews in the medium-security prison facility will be featured in an HBO documentary that will examine the impact of the current criminal justice systems on prisoners, families and the judicial system.
"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," said Smith, who is also the host of VICE's Emmy award-winning documentary series on HBO, in a statement. "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."
The special will air on HBO this fall.