President Barack Obama got a firsthand look at a federal prison, and thanks to HBO, we’ll get to see it too. An upcoming Vice special on the American Criminal Justice system will include footage of Obama’s visit. The White House announced on July 10 that the president, along with Vice co-founder Shane Smith, would tour an Oklahoma facility and meet with prisoners, staff, and law enforcement officials.
Like other episodes of the award-winning documentary series, the special will feature interviews about a current issue in American politics and culture. Hosted by Smith, the Vice special will integrate scenes from his and Obama’s visit and examine how our country treats criminal offenders. Viewers can expect to see “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,” Smith said. “It’s going to be fascinating.”
Obama’s visit to the El Reno Federal Correctional Institution was the first for any sitting U.S. president. Located in central Oklahoma, it’s a medium-security prison with 1,300 inmates, all convicted of federal crimes.
As presidential hopefuls jockey to make a name for themselves, Obama has turned his attention to criminal-justice reform. He announced in June that it would be a key topic for the duration of his final term as president. His decision to appear on Vice is another cool way he’ll share information with the public: he got his own Twitter account in May, and in June he let Marc Maron interview him on Maron’s WTF podcast.
The Vice special will air on HBO on Sept. 27.