In The Know: Most juvenile facilities don’t comply with U.S. Rape Prevention Act

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.

Today In The News

Most Juvenile Facilities Don’t Comply With U.S. Rape Prevention Act: More than half of Oklahoma’s incarcerated juvenile offenders are held in facilities that don’t comply with federal policies for preventing sexual assault, an Oklahoma Watch investigation found. Those rape-prevention standards are required in all Oklahoma adult prisons and halfway houses as well as in more than a dozen county jails. The state’s three secure detention centers for juveniles, run by the Office of Juvenile Affairs, do comply with the guidelines stipulated by the federal Prison Rape Elimination Act, or PREA [Oklahoma Watch].

Federal court decision could help Oklahoma collect online sales tax: A federal appeals court has upheld an inventive policy that could let Oklahoma and other states collect sales taxes from online retailers. The law, originally adopted in Colorado almost six years ago, forces companies that sell products over the Internet to either collect sales taxes or face a more unpalatable option – if the company doesn’t collect the tax, it must mail customers who spend more than $500 per year an annual purchase summary with dates, categories, payment amounts and a reminder that the customer has an obligation to pay the sales tax [Journal Record].

HJR 1037: Return of Oklahoma’s ‘Rotten political system’: In Oklahoma, the solemn vow of “Never again” has a shelf life of 50 years. In 1965, Oklahoma endured the worst judicial scandal in American history when three longtime Oklahoma Supreme Court Justices were revealed to have taken bribes in exchange for favorable decisions on appeals pending before the court. Although shocking when finally dragged into the sunlight, the scandal had been a long time coming [NonDoc].

Allbaugh requests $23M supplemental allocation for Corrections: The state Department of Corrections will run out of money before the end of the budget year, Director Joe Allbaugh wrote in a letter to Gov. Mary Fallin and top lawmakers. If the agency doesn’t receive a $23 million supplemental appropriation by the end of March, Allbaugh warned, his agency will not have enough cash to cover payroll, medical expenses and contracts with private prisons and county jails to hold state inmates [Journal Record].

Oklahoma panel starts work on billions in tax giveaways: The new state commission that’s tasked with deciding whether Oklahoma is getting its money’s worth out of billions of dollars in state tax giveaways to businesses through incentives and deductions held its first meeting Thursday. The work of the Incentive Evaluation Commission, which is required to ensure all state economic incentives are reviewed at least once every four years, is underscored by a $1.3 billion shortfall in next year’s budget. Gov. Mary Fallin and legislative leaders have increasingly targeted costly tax subsidies as a way to shore up the state budget, but have had little hard evidence to support whether the subsidies are paying off for the state [Associated Press].

Gov. Fallin Recognizes Revenue Problems: Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin spoke to a full house Thursday as part of the Chamber of Commerce forum. The governor said she and the state legislature are working hard to fill a 1.3 billion dollar hole in the state budget. The problem boils down to less overall dollars going into the state treasury each month. Fallin pointed to the best revenue month of the year — December — as an example. Fallin says the state legislature passed a bill this week that would increase revenue lost to the dot com businesses. City and county officials have been saying for several years that buyers should pay the same tax rate whether they buy something at a brick-and-mortar store or online [Bartlesville Radio].

Success story: Oklahoma significantly improves uninsured rate for Hispanic children: Recent data gives encouraging news on health insurance coverage of Oklahoma’s Hispanic children in the first year of full implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). A new report from the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute Center for Children and Families shows that Oklahoma is one of just 11 states to see a significant decline in both the number and percentage of uninsured Hispanic children. Oklahoma ranked 7th among these states for greatest percentage change, ahead of Arizona, Florida, Texas, and New York, but behind Nevada, Georgia, Colorado, California, New Jersey, and Oregon [OK Policy].

Low oil prices sharply reduce funds dedicated for education: An account that collected more than $47 million last year for education will probably experience a revenue failure, officials said. The Common Education Technology Fund, which is totally supported by oil tax revenue, is projected to finish the year 35 percent below last year’s total, according to the Office of Management and Enterprise Services. Two other identical similar accounts that are used by higher education are in the same situation. State law caps the annual deposit into the Common Education Technology Fund and several other accounts at $150 million from oil-only gross production taxes [Journal Record].

Another Oklahoma State Park Cast Off As Department Of Tourism Takes More Cuts: Tourism is Oklahoma’s third largest industry behind energy and agriculture. State parks are big reason why. But the number of parks is dwindling after years of budget cuts at the Department of Tourism. And more cuts are on the way. Dripping Springs State Park won’t be a state park much longer. Decades ago the City of Okmulgee ran it. On April 1st, Dripping Spring becomes a city park once again. Gary Vanarsdel and fishing buddy Dannie Caldwell wrap up a day on the park’s trophy bass lake and scoff at the idea [StateImpact Oklahoma].

GOP struggles to gain support for two key education issues in the Oklahoma Legislature: One of the top businessmen in Oklahoma is frustrated that the Republican-dominated Legislature hasn’t made more progress on education savings accounts, an issue typically supported by the GOP. Robert A. Funk, the head of Express Employment Professionals, also contends it’s time to greatly reduce the number of school districts and administrators [NewsOK].

Downturn has rural Oklahoma school district facing annexation: Gage Public Schools Superintendent Greg Gregory grew emotional as he stood before state Board of Education members Thursday. The K-12 district he runs in northwest Oklahoma is about to run out of money. “We’ve cut into the bone,” Gregory told the panel. “There is no meat left.” Board members then voted to move forward with mandatory annexation of the 80-student district, pending the results of a local election [NewsOK].

Oklahoma Legislature considers two bills on earthquake insurance reforms: A bill that would stop insurers from denying claims on damage from man-made earthquakes and another that would allow for the creation of a state earthquake insurance program are among reforms being weighed at the Legislature. Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, is the author of both proposals, Senate Bills 1498 and 1497. Jolley decided to introduce the bills after hearing concerns from his constituents about the availability of earthquake insurance and whether polices would pay for damage from temblors caused by oil and gas activity in the state [NewsOK].

Kimray to Join Ranks of Those Making Layoffs in Energy Downturn: Oilfield equipment manufacturer Kimray Inc. is making layoffs in the wake of the energy downturn that has seen the state lose thousands of workers in the oil and gas patch. Kimray says it will cut its workforce by 10 percent beginning the first week of March. The company had more than 700 workers in September of 2015. Then it started offering voluntary buyouts to cut costs during the downturn [OK Energy Today].

Quote of the Day

“When we take kids away from their homes and communities, we owe their families and communities a promise we’re going to keep them safe. If we can’t do that, we don’t need to take them into our care or custody.”

-Brenda V. Smith, professor at the Washington College of Law at American University, arguing that Prison Rape Elimination Act standards should apply to juvenile facilities (Source)

Number of the Day

$2,882.6 million

Net farm income in Oklahoma in 2014

Source: USDA

See previous Numbers of the Day here.

Policy Note

State Job Creation Strategies Often Off Base: To create jobs and build strong economies, states should focus on producing more home-grown entrepreneurs and on helping startups and young, fast-growing firms already located in the state to survive and to grow ― not on cutting taxes and trying to lure businesses from other states.  That’s the conclusion from a new analysis of data about which businesses create jobs and where they create them [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities].

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Ryan Gentzler worked at OK Policy from January 2016 until November 2022. He last served as the organization's Reserach Director and oversaw Open Justice Oklahoma. He began at OK Policy as an analyst focusing on criminal justice issues, including sentencing, incarceration, court fines and fees, and pretrial detention. Open Justice Oklahoma grew out of Ryan’s groundbreaking analysis of court records, which was used to inform critical policy debates. A native Nebraskan, he holds a Master of Public Administration degree from the University of Oklahoma and a BA in Institutions and Policy from William Jewell College. He served as an OK Policy Research Fellow in 2014-2015.

2 thoughts on “In The Know: Most juvenile facilities don’t comply with U.S. Rape Prevention Act

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