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criminal justice reform

Gary Leonhardt is a Democratic voter living in Norman.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

In 2016, Oklahoma voters passed two state questions intended to reduce the state’s prison population. Every year since, lawmakers have introduced bills designed to help decrease the number of people serving time.

Gov. Kevin Stitt and legislators celebrated a budget deal in the waning days of the session.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Multiple polls show the majority of Oklahoma voters support criminal justice reforms.

Survey data commissioned by Oklahoma Public Radio stations for the Oklahoma Engaged Project also suggest a majority of voters believe the state’s sentencing laws need to be reworked.

Oklahoma is now the number one incarcerator in the country, but only one bill targeting prison population control reached the governor’s desk this session.

Lawmakers adjourned the 2019 legislative session Thursday. StateImpact reporters followed a number of issues this year. They sit down to talk about the bills that made it to the end of the session and those that are in limbo.

Gov. Kevin Stitt, musician MC Hammer and representatives of the nonprofit Last Mile program unveil a coding program inside the women’s prison Mabel Bassett Correctional Center in McCloud.
Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Criminal justice measures moving through the legislative process got a boost this week as Gov. Kevin Stitt announced a new initiative Wednesday focused on giving offenders second chances.

Jim Arterburn

Representative Kevin Wallace suggested as little as 1 percent of the state budget remains to be negotiated as lawmakers eye the end of the 2018 legislative session on May 25. That’s according to eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley.

 

 

Ashley says state agencies will most likely see flat budgets. State revenue has increased due to economic growth and revenue generating measures from previous sessions, giving lawmakers more money to appropriate. And lawmakers have already dealt with many of the biggest budget items, like public education.

Ben Fenwick / Oklahoma Watch

This story was updated April 17.

Oklahoma’s prison population will continue to grow in the years ahead — the only question is how much.

A marquee slate of criminal justice reform bills fall short of what Gov. Mary Fallin’s Oklahoma Justice Reform Task Force, a little over a year ago, recommended to curb incarceration rates and provide alternatives to prison.

Quinton Chandler / StateImpact Oklahoma

Gov. Mary Fallin on Monday announced a compromise between district attorneys and Republican lawmakers on six bills they say will reduce Oklahoma’s prison population while maintaining public safety.

One criminal justice reform advocacy group is criticizing the timing of the announcement because the bills’ language still hasn’t been made public.