Tuesday, March 21, 2017
OKLAHOMA CITY – Governor Mary Fallin today commended the Oklahoma House of Representatives for its bipartisan approval of three bills related to reforms of the criminal justice system. The governor asked lawmakers in her State of the State address last month to consider these reforms, which were recommended by the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force that she convened last year.
“Without jeopardizing public safety, these measures address Oklahoma’s prison population, which is among the highest in the nation,” said Fallin. “Our criminal justice system will cost our state nearly $2 billion in the coming years if we do not make any changes, which is why these reforms are so critical. I am grateful to Representatives Terry O’Donnell and Scott Biggs for their hard work. With our state prisons already filled to well over capacity, it is vital that we safely and prudently fix our criminal justice system.”
The House passed:
The bills now head to the Oklahoma Senate 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.