Tuesday, March 21, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today praised the Oklahoma Senate for its approval of eight bills addressing improvements in the criminal justice system. The Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force, which was convened by the governor last year, recommended these reforms after studying the data and facts of the criminal justice system in Oklahoma, and the governor asked lawmakers to consider them in her State of the State.
“These historic votes will improve public safety in Oklahoma, and save our state $1.9 billion,” said Fallin. “Making smart, data-driven decisions on how to increase safety while decreasing our overcapacity prisons is key to pursuing smaller, more efficient, and more moral government. My thanks to Majority Floor Leader Greg Treat and Senator Wayne Shaw for sponsoring this landmark legislation, and for taking a huge step towards a better criminal justice system and a safer Oklahoma.”
The Senate passed:
The bills now head to the Oklahoma House of Representatives for consideration.
The Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force included those in law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, members of the business community, victim advocates, mental health and addiction professionals, and legislators.
Oklahoma has the second-highest imprisonment rate in the country. It has the highest rate for women – a ranking the state has held since 1991. Moreover, Oklahoma’s prison population is projected to grow 25 percent in the next 10 years at a cost of $1.2 billion in capital expenditures and an additional $700 million in operating costs over 10 years. Proposed legislation will save more than 7,800 beds, averting the immediate need for new prisons and much of these additional expenses.