CATEGORY | Criminal Justice
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SQ805 attacks lengthy prison sentences; opponents say there would be unintended consequences

State Question 805 asks voters to change the state’s constitution so courts can’t use a controversial sentencing tool to increase punishments for people with past felony convictions. The change wouldn’t apply to people convicted of violent crimes.

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Oklahoma City mental health emergencies outpace police trained to handle them

Mental health calls have nearly doubled for Oklahoma City’s police force in six years. Police and policy makers say officers shouldn’t be involved in most of the calls at all.

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‘We are still human beings’: Oklahoma prisoners, officials adjust as COVID-19 spreads

The Department of Corrections is drawing heavy criticism for its steep rise in COVID-19 cases. Most of the 3,175 total cases recorded as of Sept. 23. were first reported in the past month.

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Oklahoma prisoner dies after being hospitalized with COVID symptoms

An Oklahoma prisoner who tested positive for COVID-19 died in a hospital on Saturday. If she had lived, the woman’s earliest possible release would have come in May, 2021.

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Tempers flare after Oklahoma County sends CARES money to jail

A nonprofit leader hoped Oklahoma County would use some of its $47 million CARES Act grant to help people facing eviction. But the state’s most populous county is planning to spend the bulk of that relief package on its problematic jail.

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A former Oklahoma prisoner struggles to find his feet during the pandemic

The pandemic threatens former prisoners’ access to resources they need to build stable lives. Offices that issue legal identification have closed for part or the majority of the pandemic.

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Researcher: Covid-19 infection rates 5 times higher in U.S. Prisons

Data analyzed by a Johns Hopkins University researcher suggests people incarcerated in state and federal prisons are at higher risk of catching Covid-19 and of dying from the disease.

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Defund police vote exposes deep divisions in Norman

Norman is the only one of Oklahoma’s three largest cities where leaders were swayed to redirect funding after the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

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Pandemic isolates Oklahoma domestic violence victims

Covid-19 made it harder for some domestic violence victims to find safety from their abusers. Victim advocates also fear they may experience more severe violence in their isolation.

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Oklahoma City Black Lives Matter requests more robust, transparent police oversight

Residents of Oklahoma City often don’t hear the details surrounding complaints against police and the investigations they prompt. Black Lives Matter activists are calling for independent probes of police investigations.

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