The legislature made important steps forward on criminal justice this session. More remains to be done.

There remains much work ahead as Oklahoma still incarcerates more people than almost anywhere in the world. As such, lawmakers missed opportunities to help curb the state’s ongoing incarceration crisis or make much-needed investments in county-level mental health and substance abuse services.  [More...]

Reducing our incarceration population is a matter of public safety — and public health

The state should continue reducing the number of people incarcerated in Oklahoma across the board by extending the early pandemic efforts, like expanding commutations and making permanent efforts that reduce arrests for certain non-violent offenses. These efforts are not only good for Oklahomans and public safety, but they serve the needs of public health as well.  [More...]

The 2022 session brings rare opportunity for significant progress in our criminal justice system

Even after progress, Oklahoma still ranks third in overall incarceration, with more than 21,000 people in state custody and another 26,000 under some form of supervision. [More...]

Five years later: Voters still waiting for SQ 781’s investments in mental health, substance use disorders

Though the Legislature has again failed to fund the treatments that SQ 781 statutorily required, we know that justice reform has measurably reduced the prison population and that mental health remains severely underfunded. [More...]

The 2021 session saw passage of economic justice reforms, but Oklahoma’s prison crisis demands greater action

Criminal justice reform was a lower profile priority in Oklahoma’s 2021 legislative session compared to previous years. Despite this fact, several significant reforms aimed at increasing economic opportunity for justice-involved families were signed into law. [More...]

HB 1795 reduces driver’s license suspensions for court fines and fees

Oklahoma Justice system court fines and fees Each year, thousands of Oklahomans face driver’s license suspension for failure to pay court fines and fees. As OK Policy has reported previously, tens of thousands of failure to pay arrest warrants are issued each year to the poorest Oklahomans. [More...]

Changes to Oklahoma’s drug laws reduce criminal charges and prison sentences

Though much remains to be done, the Oklahoma Policy Institute has been tracking the effects of justice reform in courts, jails, and prisons as reforms have taken hold and found a steady move towards a less punitive approach to offenses like drug possession and burglary.   [More...]

Addressing misinformation about SQ 805

As Oklahomans prepare to vote on State Question 805 during the Nov. 3 general election, opponents have started attacking the justice reform measure in predictable ways, attempting to stir up fear through false and misleading claims. Opponents of SQ 805… Read more [More...]

SQ 805: Criminal History in Sentencing and Sentence Modification Initiative

State Question 805 would amend the Oklahoma Constitution to end the use of sentence enhancements for people convicted of nonviolent crimes [More...]

Parole reform was crucial in ending Oklahoma’s status as the world’s prison capital

As a result of parole reform, Oklahoma is no longer the prison capital of the world. The state now has the nation’s third highest per capita incarceration rate behind Louisiana and Mississippi. [More...]