Skip to main content

OSP "trailblazer" gives rare tour inside the old prison

Friday, February 15, 2019

MCALESTER,  Okla --The corridors are quiet. The cells no longer corral Oklahoma’s most dangerous criminals. But the old portion of OSP does house lots of memories.

Vera Roberts knows every inch of the Oklahoma State Penitentiary. Roberts said, “This was kind of my home away from home. It’s my favorite place to work.”

Encouraged by her father, an officer at OSP -- Robert’s law enforcement career began here 30 years ago. She said, "If you make it past two years you’re never leaving. Who knew right? Yeah. Who knew? I never intended to stay this long. Blink of an eye and it’s gone."

She began as a cadet and quickly worked her way up the ranks. McAlester News Capital story in 2011 chronicles a milestone. Roberts is one of the first female captains ever at Big Mac. According to Roberts, "When I first started on, women were not allowed on death row. You had to be escorted by a captain. Now – I’m a captain over death row. A lot has changed in 30 years as far as that."

As Vera Roberts strides into retirement, she reflects on her time in Oklahoma’s most notorious prison. “Good memories here. I like this area," She said.

Now, she’s ready to begin life beyond the wire after a lengthy and fulfilling career working on death row.

Back to Top