TULSA, Okla. (AP) - Officials say the escape of eight inmates from an unattended van in Oklahoma highlights problems with private prison companies that don't face the same scrutiny as state corrections systems.
Oklahoma Department of Corrections spokesman Jerry Massie says if the transport van belonged to the state's system, the offenders would never have been left unattended. And a spokesman for a Washington-based research nonprofit says when public services are contracted to private companies, transparency and accountability often are sacrificed.
Guards employed by Nashville, Tenn.-based Prisoner Transportation Services, had stopped Tuesday in Weatherford to take one or two inmates to a hospital when the prisoners fell ill. But the guards left the inmates alone in the van. The inmates were all found late Tuesday.
The owner of the transport company declined comment Wednesday.
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