MIDWEST CITY — California corrections officials knew a private prison company was housing a convicted murderer, rapist and two other felons at a Midwest City nursing home, but contend they had no “role in approving or objecting to this facility,” a department spokeswoman said Friday.
Terry Thornton, a spokeswoman for the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, said the state agency is in “constant communication” with Corrections Corporation of America, the private company which has thousands of inmates from the Golden State under its purview.
Documents available on the state Health Department's website reveal the California inmates were housed at Buena Vista Care and Rehabilitation Center from Oct. 19, 2011, to Nov. 15, 2011, although Thornton said they were there even longer.
The inmates, severely injured during an Oct. 11, 2011, riot at North Fork Correctional Facility in Sayre, were shackled to their beds, not far from the typical residents one would find in any nursing facility.
Armed guards, reportedly as many as three at a time, watched over the prisoners at all times, the Health Department report states.
Thornton said Buena Vista fit the prisoners' needs.
“This is a skilled nursing facility that also provides rehabilitative services,” she said. “It was selected because it met the treatment and rehabilitative needs of these inmates. It also satisfied security concerns.”
Thornton said the convicts housed at Buena Vista have since been transferred out of Oklahoma. She said one is in a private prison in Arizona while the other three are back in California.
“The four inmates had all suffered severe head injuries,” she said. “They could not be transferred back to California or anywhere else, for that matter, until their conditions had improved.”