The Weekly Wonk: Juvenile crime and incarceration plummets; Oklahoma’s budget challenges; & more

What’s up this week at Oklahoma Policy Institute? The Weekly Wonk shares our most recent publications and other resources to help you stay informed about Oklahoma. Numbers of the Day and Policy Notes are from our daily news briefing, In The Know. Click here to subscribe to In The Know.

This week’s edition of The Weekly Wonk was published with contributions from Open Justice Oklahoma Intern Thomas Gao.

This Week from OK Policy

This week, we released a new report by Open Justice Oklahoma (OJO) which found that while juvenile crime and incarceration rates have fallen dramatically, deep racial and local disparities remain. The report explores the change that has occurred in our state’s juvenile justice system and what it means for our adult justice system in coming years. 

You can read the full report on the Open Justice Oklahoma website. You can also read a summary of the report on our blog. In the coming weeks, we will highlight several findings from the report on the OK Policy blog.

Recent reports on revenue collected by the state for fiscal year 2019 show significant revenue growth for the year, but we are still a long way from fully recovering from years of declining investments. Budget and Tax Senior Policy Analyst Paul Shinn urged lawmakers to address both short-term and long-term budget challenges by applying the lessons learned from the last few years.

In his weekly Journal Record column, former Executive Director David Blatt discussed changing attitudes towards corporations. Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update summarized a presentation at a recent Joint Healthcare Working Group meeting.

OK Policy in the News

Public Radio Tulsa and The Journal Record published stories about OJO’s report on the significant decrease in juvenile crime and incarceration in Oklahoma. The Enid News & Eagle published Shinn’s piece on the need to restore Oklahoma’s state Earned Income Tax Credit for working families. Education Policy Analyst Rebecca Fine spoke to the Tulsa World about Tulsa Public School District’s budget shortfall. The Oklahoman cited OK Policy in a story about Oklahoma’s uninsured rate remaining the second-highest in the nation. 

The City Sentinel published a release on the establishment of the David Blatt Legacy Fund.

David Blatt Farewell Events and Legacy Fund

To celebrate outgoing director David Blatt, OK Policy is hosting events in Oklahoma City on Monday, October 28th, 2019 and in Tulsa on Tuesday, October 29th, 2019. The events are free and open to the public. For more information and to RSVP, go to

To honor his years of commitment to the organization, OK Policy’s Board of Directors has established the David Blatt Legacy Fund to provide dedicated support for OK Policy’s bedrock policy work on budget and tax issues.

Weekly What’s That

Managed care, what’s that?

Managed care is a health care delivery system organized to manage cost, utilization, and quality. Unlike a traditional fee-for-service system, in which a provider is paid directly by an insurer for every service delivered, under managed care, an organization or provider is responsible for providing a specified set of services for each insured member in return for a set monthly payment, known as the capitation rate.

A managed care organization is an entity that receives a capitated payment and coordinates a patient’s care through a defined network of physicians and hospitals.  An HMO, or Health Maintenance Organization, is a variety of managed care organization that typically requires patient to seek care from doctors and other providers who work for or contract with the HMO.  In exchange for being limited in their choice of providers, patients enrolled in an HMO typically have lower out-of-pocket costs than in a fee-for-service plan.

Look up more key terms to understand Oklahoma politics and government here.

Quote of the Week

“At the end of the day, there are Oklahoma kids who are without their mother. There is a woman who is serving even more of an already unjust sentence, and we’re only setting her up to have to pay more fines and fees for a longer time.”

– Nicole McAfee, director of advocacy for the ACLU of Oklahoma, on the re-arrest of Patricia Spottedcrow earlier this week despite no new charges of illegal activity  [Tulsa World].

Editorial of the Week

Tulsa World Editorial: Parole, commutations increases smart policy for Oklahoma

Tulsa World reporter Corey Jones found that between March and August this year, compared to the same time last year with an equal pool of candidates, paroles are up 41% and commutations are up 1,300%. That’s good news because it means the state is finally moving in the right direction. The rate isn’t where it was before the philosophy of few to no paroles being granted. But it shows a healthier philosophy. [Tulsa World].

Numbers of the Day

  • 19 – Total number of individuals on Death Row in Oklahoma as of August 1, 2019.
  • 16,871 – Number of Oklahoma’s nearly 700,000 students in grades PK through 12 who experienced homelessness in 2018.
  • 8,746,152 – Miles traveled by participants in OKDHS transportation assistance programs for seniors and individuals with disabilities.
  • 4,600 – The number of federal prison employees lost between January 2017 and December 2018.
  • $459 – Average amount of their own money teachers spend on classroom supplies each year.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • Government programs usually cost money. These ones actually make money [Vox]
  • “Medicare for All” Is Missing a Vital Group: The Incarcerated [The Marshall Project]
  • In Seattle, a move across town could be a path out of poverty [NPR]
  • Coordinating care of mind and body might help Medicaid save money and lives [NPR]
  • As overdoses soared, nearly 35 billion opioids — half of distributed pills — handled by 15 percent of pharmacies [Washington Post]


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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.