Recent Articles

End of Session Round-Up: Criminal justice reform was not enough of a legislative priority in 2019

See all of our end of session round-ups: Taxes | Budget | Economic Opportunity | Health Care | Education | Criminal Justice Oklahoma incarcerates its citizens at a higher rate than any other place on Earth. If Oklahoma does not… Read more [More...]

HB 1269 makes 780 retroactive but leaves issues unresolved

HB 1269 is a positive step for justice reform in Oklahoma, but a recent amendment will complicate the bill’s resentencing process and create financial hurdles that will lessen the positive impact of retroactivity. [More...]

Investments in prison job training will lower the cost of Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis

Stable employment is the single biggest factor in determining whether Oklahomans released from prison are likely to re-offend. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for justice-involved Oklahomans is five times higher than the statewide average. Workforce training in prisons is one of… Read more [More...]

Bail reform: Living in a different county shouldn’t mean different access to justice

Thousands of Oklahomans who have not been convicted of a crime are locked in county jails across the state because they can’t afford to buy their freedom from a bondsman. How long you stay in jail often depends on where… Read more [More...]

Bill Watch: A strong bipartisan coalition could make huge advances on criminal justice reform

This legislative session, leaders of both parties, the governor, the Oklahoma business community and the public at large have expressed a clear desire to work towards ending Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis. Some of these legislative initiatives build on the progress of Gov. Fallin’s Criminal Justice Task Force, but many proposals represent new attempts to lower Oklahoma’s highest-in-the-world incarceration rate. [More...]

Gov. Stitt can save Oklahoma millions through parole reform

Gov. Stitt’s State of the State address signaled a serious desire to make criminal justice reform a signature piece of his agenda. He’s made positive comments regarding several bipartisan bills filed this legislative session aimed at stemming Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis. However, there are… Read more [More...]

Parole is broken in Oklahoma. Here’s how we fix it.

Incarceration is expensive in Oklahoma. The cost of our overcrowded prisons is projected to skyrocket in the next decade. The Department of Corrections requested $1.5 billion next year to address long-neglected repairs and to build a new prison to keep up with the… Read more [More...]

Property crime decreased in Oklahoma as SQ 780 reduced punishments

Before 2016, stealing a smartphone in Oklahoma could be charged as a felony with the possibility of prison time. The passage of SQ 780 raised the felony theft threshold in Oklahoma from $500 to $1000, meaning a person has to steal… Read more [More...]

Making recent justice reforms retroactive is smart policy – and a moral necessity

Voters passed State Questions 780 and 781 in response to Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis. These measures reclassified simple drug possession and several low-level property crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies and directed the savings toward treatment and rehabilitation services. The changes… Read more [More...]

The future of medical marijuana in Oklahoma

More than half a million Oklahomans voted in favor of State Question 788 legalizing medical marijuana, making Oklahoma the 30th state in the nation to legalize the drug in some form. SQ 788 directed the Department of Health to issue rules governing the implementation of the… Read more [More...]