KGOU

Criminal Justic

Matt Sparks ran the Rogers County pretrial release program for about two years before he resigned.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Some parts of criminal justice reform can feel risky. If you propose letting someone out of jail who has committed a crime, you reduce jail overcrowding, but does it put the community at risk? That’s a question Rogers County in northeastern Oklahoma has been trying to answer.

Inmates walk their training dogs at Mabel Bassett Correction Center in McLoud.
Kate Carlton Greer / KGOU

Oklahoma has now overtaken Louisiana as the state with the highest incarceration rate in the country, according to data from the Prison Policy Initiative.

Here & Now's Jeremy Hobson speaks with John Carl, a professor of sociology and criminology at the University of Oklahoma, about how the rate got so high and what kind of overhaul is in motion.

Interview Highlights

Storme Jones / KGOU

When Gov. Mary Fallin addressed lawmakers in her first State of the State speech in 2011, she implored them to fix a $600 million hole in the state budget. Seven years later, in her final State of the State address, the legislature is faced with a similar task: filling an estimated $425 million gap in the budget.