The Weekly Wonk: New data tool tracks OK’s prison population; 2019 Fall Internships; & 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 Communications Intern Lindsay Myers.

This Week from OK Policy

This week, Open Justice Oklahoma launched a new data tool that provides up-to-date looks at the state’s incarceration rate and prison overcrowding crisis. The Oklahoma DOC Tracker will be updated weekly with data from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections, giving policymakers and the public timely information about trends in our justice system.

Ryan Gentzler, Director of Open Justice Oklahoma, will give a live demonstration of how to use the tracker on Tuesday, July 9, at 2 pm on Open Justice Oklahoma’s Facebook page. You can read our press release on the launch of the Oklahoma DOC Tracker here.

Steve Lewis’s Capitol Update gave us a preview of an attack on Oklahoma’s judicial nominating process.

This week we also launched our 2019 Fall Internship applications! The deadline to apply is Sunday, July 21st.

OK Policy in the News

The Oklahoman and Public Radio Tulsa wrote about the launch of Open Justice Oklahoma’s DOC Tracker. The Oklahoman also wrote about OK Policy’s transition to a new Executive Director, Ahniwake Rose. Read more about Ahniwake here.

Paul Shinn, Budget and Tax Senior Policy Analyst, spoke to the Tulsa World about how recent tax increases have helped Oklahoma’s bottom line more than expected.

Upcoming Opportunities

Facebook Live Event: The Oklahoma DOC Tracker with Ryan Gentzler: Interested in learning more about the Oklahoma DOC Tracker and its capabilities? Join us this Tuesday, July 9 at 2 pm for a live demonstration and Q&A with the Director of Open Justice Oklahoma and creator of the tracker, Ryan Gentlzer. Visit the Facebook event page to learn more.

Applications now open for OK Policy’s 2019 Fall Internships: OK Policy is now accepting applications for paid, part-time internships in our Tulsa office during the Fall 2019 semester! This fall we have internship opportunities in two areas: public policy and data. The deadline to apply is Sunday, July 21st.

Weekly What’s That

Fiscal Year, What’s That?

A fiscal year (usually abbreviated ‘FY’) is the period used for calculating annual budgets. The state of Oklahoma’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30. Each fiscal year is named after the calendar year that it ends in. For example, Oklahoma’s fiscal year 2019 (FY 2019) covers the period from July 1, 2018 to June 30, 2019. Click here to read more What’s That terms.

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

Chart of the Week

The Oklahoma DOC Tracker

For Oklahoma to fall to the 20th highest rate, the state would need to reduce its prison population of 26,110 to about 15,409, a change of about 10,701 people or -41 percent. Explore the Oklahoma DOC Tracker.

Quote of the Week

“While Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis is a constant topic of debate, it is often difficult to find basic information about where we stand. We hope that the Oklahoma DOC Tracker provides an easy-to-use way to measure and contextualize our overincarceration problem.”

-Ryan Gentzler, director of Open Justice Oklahoma, on the release of an online dashboard tracking Oklahoma’s incarceration numbers [The Oklahoman]

Editorial of the Week

Evidence mounts that Medicaid expansion can make Oklahomans healthier

Medicaid expansion saves lives. Since 2014, the federal government has funded Medicaid coverage for working-age people who earn up to 138% of the federal poverty level. Thirty-six states and Washington, D.C., have bought into the program, currently and permanently funded with 90% federal money [Wayne Greene / Tulsa World].

Numbers of the Day

  • 41.5% – Percentage of Oklahoma teenagers (ages 15 to 19) who are in the labor force.
  • 15.5% – Percentage of voter registration forms that were invalid or rejected in Marshall County in 2018, the most of any county in Oklahoma. The statewide average was 3.2%.
  • 27 – The number of Oklahoma counties designated as federal disaster sites eligible for individual assistance from FEMA as of July 1st 2019
  • 3,107 – Current number of Oklahoma inmates suspected by the Department of Corrections as having Hepatitis C.

See previous Numbers of the Day and sources here.

What We’re Reading

  • How Medicaid expansion prevents child neglect [Forbes]
  • One possible solution to the opioid crisis in the U.S. has been inexplicably ignored [TIME]
  • Food stamps helped lift the US economy out of the Great Recession [Vox]
  • ‘Mental Health Parity’ Is Still An Elusive Goal In U.S. Insurance Coverage [NPR]

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