“The walkout was never about a raise, it was about respect for education and that’s why the educator legislators are going have to fight to keep education at the forefront of the debate.”

– Rep. John Waldron (D-Tulsa), a former teacher at Booker T. Washington High School [NewsOn6]

“If you don’t address the harm that was done early in people’s lives, where one wants to continue to numb that emotional pain, you can’t find recovery. And I don’t think you can do it alone.”

– Mimi Tarrasch, Women in Recovery’s chief program officer, on the key to the effectiveness of the program [Tulsa World]

“We can’t afford to just squeak by. We need to deliver a message that will resonate across the state later this month when we turn in these signatures.”

– Amber England, manager of the Yes on 802 campaign, on why they will continue to collect signatures up until the October 28th deadline [The Oklahoman]

“SQ 780 retroactivity is going to be life-changing for tens of thousands of Oklahomans, their families and communities. Unfortunately for me and many others who are getting our lives back together, the expungement fee (minimum of $1,000) is just too high.”

– Kayla Jeffries, who recently received commutation  and was released from prison [NonDoc]

“The effort has been very effective, and as of Nov. 1, hundreds of Oklahomans incarcerated for offenses that are misdemeanors will be eligible to return home to their families. These changes are a first step in meeting the governor’s commitment to make Oklahoma a Top 10 state. Recognizing that this is just the beginning of needed changes in the criminal justice system, it is a major step forward.”

– Gene Rainbolt, board member of Oklahomans for Criminal Justice Reform, on last session’s legislation to make State Question 780 retroactive [The Oklahoman]

“We’re doing it in a public forum, and we’re allowing people to participate. We’re working with the (district attorneys), and I think the will of the people is clear: Get out the low-level, non-violent offenders. We don’t need to be incarcerating them. And that is what we’re working toward.”

– Steven Bickley, executive director of the Pardon and Parole Board, on how the Board is moving forward with the first group of incarcerated Oklahomans eligible for an expedited commutation process [The Oklahoman]

“Kits are going to be tested and we’ve taken steps to ensure that this backlog, this really regrettable backlog that was allowed to occur, won’t happen again.”

– Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter on a $2.4 million federal grant to support initiatives to process untested rape kits and hiring a victim advocate. A recent audit found more than 7,200 untested rape kits statewide [The Oklahoman]

“One in five women will be sexually assaulted in college. We know that harm is happening on campuses. Hopefully, students and survivors using these systems and filing these reports means they felt safe and comfortable [enough to report].”

– Morgan Dewey, communications director for advocacy organization End Rape on Campus, on large increases in reports of rape at the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma State University [Tulsa World]

“What would be helpful is to provide treatment as an option, as a carrot. I think people think you always need the stick, and that’s just not true. Even though we do need prisons and people will always go to them, people just don’t need that long to be punished, to be sorry and to change.”

– Kelly Doyle, a member of the Pardon and Parole Board and the Governor’s RESTORE Task Force on criminal justice reform, arguing for shorter prison sentences for people convicted of nonviolent drug crimes at the Task Force’s first public meeting [The Oklahoman]

“When people are healthier, they tend to commit less crime. When people are healthier, it tends to improve the quality of life. The reality is this: Collectively we are a rural state. Health care in rural Oklahoma is in crisis. If there’s a way to bring some of our tax dollars back home to benefit the people who live in our state, I don’t know why we wouldn’t do that.”

– Kris Steele, a Republican former Speaker of the House and current Executive Director of The Education and Employment Ministry, explaining his reasons for supporting Medicaid expansion in Oklahoma [The Oklahoman]