President Obama will visit a federal prison in Oklahoma on Thursday as part of his intensified push to overhaul the nation’s criminal justice system, the Washington Post reports. The trip will be “the first visit by a sitting U.S. president to a federal prison,” said White House press secretary Josh Earnest. He will speak Tuesday about reforming sentencing guidelines at the NAACP’s annual conference in Philadelphia. “The president will outline the unfairness in much of our criminal justice system, highlight bipartisan ideas for reform and lay out his ideas to make our country fairer, smarter and more cost effective while keeping the American people safe and secure,” Earnest said.
Obama, who views sentencing reform as one of the remaining areas where he may be able to forge a bipartisan compromise, will visit a medium security prison in El Reno, Ok. Federal Bureau of Prisons Director Charles Samuels, who has announced he will retire by the year’s end, is expected to accompany him. While at the prison Obama will participate in an interview with VICE. The president has campaigned to overhaul sentencing guidelines for non-violent offenses that have kept many men and women of color in prison for decades. As previously reported by the New York Times, Obama is likely to commute the sentences of dozens of non-violent offenders.