Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform’s main goal this session is to bring Oklahoma’s prison sentences more in line with the national average.
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.
Oklahoma has reduced it’s imprisonment rate but the criminal justice experts say they expect the prison population to continue growing in the next six years.
Gov. Kevin Stitt delivered his second State of the State Address to the Oklahoma Legislature.
Legislators concluded this year’s session after only passing one reform bill that could directly affect the size of the state’s prison population, but experts aren’t sure how much. Three Oklahoma voters said they want to see more progress.
Despite voter support for criminal justice reforms, lawmakers only passed one bill that could affect prison population growth frustrating Department of Corrections employees and agency budgets.
Legislators increase education funding, kick most health and criminal justice questions down the road
StateImpact followed legislators’ actions on education, criminal justice reform, Medicaid expansion and abortion.
Louisiana and Oklahoma are both trying to reduce their prison populations and lower the costs of their justice systems. Louisiana is seeing good results. Many of Oklahoma’s reforms haven’t gone into effect, but experts predict they’ll have a limited effect.
Oklahoma’s prisons are bursting at the seams. A state task force charged with reforming the state’s justice system discovered that thousands of new inmates are locked up for violating the terms of their probation. To slow prison growth, the group recommended making prison a last resort for probation and parole violators.