In The Know: State law enforcement seized at least $6.1M over five years

In The KnowIn The Know is a daily synopsis of Oklahoma policy-related news and blogs. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. You can sign up here to receive In The Know by e-mail.

Today In The News

ACLU review finds Oklahoma law enforcers seized $6.1 million in properties along I-40: Law enforcement officers in a dozen Oklahoma counties along Interstate 40 seized $6.1 million in civil forfeiture actions over a 5-year period, with nearly two-thirds of the money taken in cases where no criminal charges were filed. That’s according to an American Civil Liberties Union of Oklahoma review of court records for 12 of the 13 counties along the I-40 corridor [NewsOK]. Sen. Kyle Loveless (R-Oklahoma City) says he’s withdrawing his request for an interim study on civil asset forfeiture laws in Oklahoma and instead plans a panel discussion on the issue [Tulsa World].

Mental health crisis teams provide a hospital without walls: For more than a decade in Tulsa, intensive, wrap-around support teams have been helping people in the city who face the most significant mental health diseases.  This is the last step before long-term institutionalization or even incarceration. The OU IMPACT team finds them, whether in their own homes, under a bridge, in a homeless shelter or crashing on a friend’s sofa [Tulsa World].

Oklahoma County jail not set up for mental health patients, experts say: Jail leaders say that the county needs a new jail, in large part, because of how mental health services must be delivered in the current jail. The Oklahoma County jail was not built with people with mental illnesses in mind. Not only was the jail built without a mental health unit but also without a medical floor or offices for physicians [NewsOK].

Mental health must stay on Oklahoma lawmakers’ to-do list: This gap leaves the mental health agency with little choice but to focus on those in crisis, while keeping its fingers crossed that something horrific doesn’t happen involving a person who needs help but hasn’t reached crisis stage [The Oklahoman].

In search of a salary: 20 minute commute to Texas brings area more teachers from Oklahoma: While only about 20 minutes separate the Denison and Durant school districts, several thousand dollars separate their teachers’ starting pay. Many teachers, frustrated with the lack of pay increases and the lowest salaries in their region, have started teaching in states bordering Oklahoma, including Texas [The Dallas Morning News].

Oklahoma researcher reports link between pharmacies’ output, overdoses: The Oklahoma pharmacies that filled the most prescriptions for powerful painkillers for Medicaid recipients aren’t far from the counties with the most residents who died from those same drugs. Burl Beasley, clinical pharmacist at the Health Care Authority, said he noticed some correlation with the location of the highest opioid-dispensing pharmacies and deaths among Medicaid recipients [NewsOK].

Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt’s office will start new review duties of boards and commissions: Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt sent letters to dozens of state regulatory boards this month that left some board members with a lot of questions. Pruitt directed the agencies to begin forwarding summaries of all proposed board actions that could trigger antitrust concerns so those actions can be reviewed by his office [NewsOK].

 Aging out of DHS system increases risk of homelessness: More than one-fourth of the 1,639 youths who aged out of the Oklahoma child welfare system during the years 2009 through 2013 went on to experience some form of homelessness. At a time when many 18-year-olds are looking forward to college or joining the workforce with support from their families, many of the children who age out of the state system are trying to figure out how to survive [NewsOK].

U.S. Supreme Court denies rehearing to Oklahoma death row inmates on constitutionality of executions: The U.S. Supreme Court on Friday denied a request from a group of Oklahoma death row inmates to rehear their case as a vehicle to address the overarching constitutionality of the death penalty prior to their fast-approaching executions [Tulsa World]. Aging out of the foster system leaves them without any help to learn these skills that so many of us take for granted [OK Policy].

New rules expanding EPA Clean Water Act go into effect in Oklahoma: New rules expanding the reach of the EPA’s Clean Water Act went into effect in Oklahoma Friday, despite strong objections from state leaders and despite a ruling that prevents it from taking effect in other states [News9].

Quote of the Day

“The county jail is just this symptom of the problem. It’s not the solution. You can debate, ‘Where do you want people to go when their addiction gets them in trouble, when their mental health gets them in trouble?’ But the focus should be — how are you going to treat people’s mental illnesses and addictions? And if you’re not willing to make those investments, you can be sure your criminal justice system is going to be flooded, and you spend money on the back end.” 

– Oklahoma City councilman Ed Shadid, on the Oklahoma City county jail’s difficulty contending with high volumes of inmates with mental health and substance abuse issues (Source)

Number of the Day


Percentage of high-cost mortgage loans (home purchase loans with a significantly higher-than-average APR) in Oklahoma in 2013. The nationwide average was 3.35%.

Source: Corporation for Enterprise Development.

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

In Norway, where college is free, children of uneducated parents still don’t go: Even though tuition is almost completely free here, Norwegians whose parents did not go to college are just as unlikely to go themselves as Americans whose parents did not go to college. This conundrum demonstrates a critical point that’s widely misunderstood, according to higher-education experts: money is not the only thing keeping first-generation students from seeking degrees [The Hechinger Report].

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Carly Putnam joined OK Policy in 2013. As Policy Director, she supervises policy research and strategy. She previously worked as an OK Policy intern, and she was OK Policy's health care policy analyst through July 2020. She graduated from the University of Tulsa in 2013. As a student, she was a participant in the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute and interned with Planned Parenthood. Carly is a graduate of the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits Nonprofit Management Certification; the Oklahoma Developmental Disabilities Council’s Partners in Policymaking; The Mine, a social entrepreneurship fellowship in Tulsa; and Leadership Tulsa Class 62. She currently serves on the boards of Restore Hope Ministries and The Arc of Oklahoma. In her free time, she enjoys reading, cooking, and doing battle with her hundred year-old house.

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