This week, a number of criminal justice reform bills are moving through the Oklahoma legislature with overwhelming bipartisan support. These historic votes are a huge step towards a better criminal justice system that will improve public safety, reduce the prison population, and save taxpayers millions of dollars.
Eight bills have passed through the Senate, and three other pieces of legislation have passed through the House. These measures, based on recommendations from Gov. Mary Fallin’s Justice Reform Task Force, will continue Oklahoma’s effort to modify the state’s criminal justice system.
“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.” said Gov. Fallin.
According to the Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force, these vital changes will save the state $1.9 billion in the coming years. Oklahoma currently holds the second-highest imprisonment rate in the United States. These bills address the state’s prison population by providing individualized treatment for those in the justice system who need mental health or substance abuse services, reforming sentencing practices, and modifying penalties for non-violent crimes.
Americans for Tax reform applauds these positive steps and hopefully this is a prologue to more legislation to come.