In The Know: Stitt to pick next Supreme Court justice, Oklahoma’s violent crime rate higher than average, Better data could reduce state’s incarceration rate

In The KnowIn The Know is your daily briefing on Oklahoma policy-related news. Inclusion of a story does not necessarily mean endorsement by the Oklahoma Policy Institute. Click here to subscribe to In The Know and see past editions.

New from OK Policy

Meet OK Policy: Outreach & Legislative Director Sabine Brown: “The legislature works best when citizens are communicating to our elected officials about how issues affect them personally. It is my hope that every Oklahoman recognizes the power of their voice.” [OK Policy]

In The News

Stitt to pick next Supreme Court justice from three southeastern Oklahoma judges: Gov. Kevin Stitt will pick the next Oklahoma Supreme Court justice from among three southeastern Oklahoma judges, all Republican men. The Judicial Nominating Commission has narrowed seven applicants for the District 2 Supreme Court vacancy to Bryan County District Judge Mark Campbell, Chickasaw Nation Judge Dustin Rowe and Le Flore County District Judge Jonathan K. Sullivan. [The Oklahoman]

Oklahoma’s violent crime rate higher than average: The rate of violent crime in Oklahoma remains above the national average, according to newly released FBI data. In 2018, the violent crime rate in the Sooner State rose 1.9% over the previous year, to 466.1 incidents per 100,000 people, compared to 380.6 nationally, or more than 20% higher than the rest of the country overall. [The Oklahoman]

Better data could reduce state’s incarceration rate: Oklahoma could benefit greatly from more investment in resources to improve the way crime statistics and court records are collected, organized and analyzed, state lawmakers were told this week. Damion Shade, a criminal justice policy analyst at OK Policy, said other states like New Jersey and Iowa have invested in resources to gather and make use of data at more “granular” levels, and that has resulted in better understanding of crime and court trends and more thoughtful laws and policies. [Journal Record ????]

With Women in Recovery as catalyst, Tulsa County sends 54% fewer females to prison than 10 years ago: In the past decade, the number of women sentenced to state prison from Tulsa County has decreased 54% to a low of 151 in fiscal year 2019 from 305 in FY 2010, according to F&CS data. [Tulsa World]

Pardon and Parole Board members begin giving reasons for denying parole: The board started implementing the voluntary practice last month to increase transparency and provide inmates with possible steps toward improvement if their parole is denied. [The Oklahoman]

Senate study: Participation in 2020 census critical for Oklahoma’s future: On Monday afternoon, members of the Senate Rules Committee learned about the importance of census participation and the negative impact that can occur from under-reporting. [CNHIMaking sure we count all Oklahomans will be a challenge, and we have more work to do to be ready

Oklahoma leaders learn about ‘self-healing communities’ as way to combat Adverse Childhood Experiences crisis: Oklahoma legislators are showing interest in research advancing the understanding of adverse childhood experiences as a public health crisis. [Tulsa World] Fair economic policies can alleviate stress and reduce the negative impact of trauma in Oklahoma

Corporal punishment law hasn’t changed since 1963: The law regarding child abuse, including discipline taken to extreme, is considered outdated and open to interpretation. It hasn’t been updated since the 1960s. [CNHI]

Audio: Capitol Insider: Chancellor Glen Johnson on cuts to higher ed: In this episode of Capitol Insider, KGOU’s Dick Pryor and eCapitol’s Shawn Ashley speak with the head of Oklahoma’s higher education system, Glen Johnson. Johnson discusses budget cuts to higher education, as well as free speech policies, virtual education and more. [KGOU] State spending on higher education has decreased by 26 percent since 2008 with Oklahoma leading the nation for the most drastic cuts between 2012 and 2017

Oklahoma schools prepare for major ACT changes: Beginning in September 2020, students will be allowed to retake individual sections of the ACT instead of sitting again for the entire three-hour test. [The Oklahoman]

State Republican Party faces leadership disputes and claims of mounting debt: Some Oklahoma Republicans are concerned about the state party’s financial situation amid an apparent rift between Chairman David McLain and Vice Chairman Mike Turner. [Tulsa World]

Opponents of constitutional carry said to employ ‘scare tactics’ as new law set to take effect: The law is set to take effect Nov. 1, but a legal challenge could put it on hold and ultimately nullify the law. House Bill 2597 would allow individuals to carry a weapon without training or a permit. [Tulsa World]

Tulsa claims ninth-highest uninsured rate among large U.S. cities: The state’s overall rate, 14.2% of residents without health coverage, is second-highest in the U.S. In Tulsa, it’s even higher: 15.7% of residents are uninsured, the ninth-highest rate among large cities. [Public Radio TulsaWith such a high uninsured rate in our state, there are no good reasons not to expand Medicaid

Reflections on four months of “debate” on race, policing, and the value of Black lives: On September 25th, Mana Tahaie spoke at the Tulsa City Council special meeting on racial and gender disparities in adult arrests. [Tulsa Star]

Tulsa Police Department unveils latest nonlethal PepperBall weapon in ongoing de-escalation effort: Tulsa Police Capt. Mike Eckert said the PepperBall launcher will allow TPD officers an additional option in de-escalating situations before resorting to deadly force to apprehend suspects or ease volatile situations. [Tulsa World]

City partners with advocacy group to assist previously incarcerated Tulsans find housing, jobs: In a partnership with the Mayor’s Office of Resilience and Equity, the Sowing Hope resource fair will be held from 10:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesday at Rudisill Regional Library, 1520 N. Hartford Ave. to provide resources to people seeking information on housing, education and employment opportunities. [Tulsa WorldFinding stable housing is a major barrier for the justice involved in Oklahoma

A National Travesty: A comprehensive summary of the 2001 Commission Report on the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre: It was a massacre. An aggressive and barbaric act of uncontrolled individuals acting out in destruction. A deliberate disruption of a community of people, their property, and their progress. [Tulsa Star]

Scanning for burial sites to resume Monday: Subsurface scanning for clues to the possible location of unmarked burial sites from Tulsa’s 1921 Race Massacre resumes Monday with the trail separating Oaklawn Cemetery from the Inner Dispersal Loop now on the schedule. [Tulsa World]

Quote of the Day

“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]

Number of the Day


Percent of infants and toddlers in Oklahoma who live in households with incomes less than twice the federal poverty line (in 2017, about $50,000 a year for a family of four).

[Source: State of Babies Yearbook 2019]

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

#LGBTQHistoryMonth: Health and access to care and coverage for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals in the U.S.: Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals often face challenges and barriers to accessing needed health services and, as a result, can experience worse health outcomes. [Kaiser Family Foundation]

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Jessica joined OK Policy as a Communications Associate in January 2018. A Mexican immigrant, she was a Clara Luper Scholar at Oklahoma City University where she obtained a B.A. in Political Science and Philosophy. Prior to joining OK Policy, Jessica worked at a digital marketing agency in Oklahoma City. She is an alumna of both the National Education for Women (N.E.W.) Leadership Institute (2013) and OK Policy's Summer Policy Institute (2015). In addition to her role at OK Policy, Jessica serves as a board member for Dream Action Oklahoma in OKC and communications director for Dream Alliance Oklahoma in Tulsa.

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