Oklahoma Policy Institute has grown a lot in the past few years. From humble beginnings in 2008, we now have a staff of 19, including talented individuals who focus on a wide range of policy issues, intensive data analysis, outreach, communications, events and operations, and more. To give you a better idea of who we are and what we all do, we are running an OK Policy Blog series highlighting our staffers.
For this edition, here’s Open Justice Oklahoma Director Ryan Gentzler:
What do you do at OK Policy?
I lead our program that illuminates our justice system through analysis of public data. I spend most of my time collecting administrative data from court records, jail rosters, and prison rolls, then cleaning and organizing it to make sense of it. Once it’s clean, we use the data in reports and data tools that we share with the public and with partners.
What’s your favorite thing about doing this work?
Our work allows us to see what’s going on in our justice system at a 35,000 foot level, and we’re constantly finding new and surprising things in our data. Our work has shown that two-thirds of people convicted of felonies in Tulsa County have a failure to pay warrant within 10 years of their case filing, and SQ 780 caused 14,000 fewer felonies to be filed in its first year of implementation. This information isn’t being put together anywhere else, and it’s extremely rewarding to do this work every day.
What would you most like Oklahoma to become a “Top 10 State” in?
I’d love to see Oklahoma become a Top 10 state in supports for vulnerable people. Nearly every criminal justice problem we face could be addressed through robust education, health care, and economic opportunity supports, and the state is the only actor that can make those supports a reality.
What else should OK Policy’s readers know about you?
When I’m not working, I like to travel with my wife, Molly, who is an outreach coordinator for Domestic Violence Intervention Services. I spend most of my free time cleaning up after my two dogs, Arlo Guthrie, a pit bull/Basset hound mix, and Ernie, a Walker hound.