Bail reform: Living in a different county shouldn’t mean different access to justice

Thousands of Oklahomans who have not been convicted of a crime are locked in county jails across the state because they can’t afford to buy their freedom from a bondsman. How long you stay in jail often depends on where… Read more [More...]

Opportunities this session to bend Oklahoma’s justice system toward justice (Capitol Update)

Prison Visit A defining issue for this legislature and Governor Stitt's leadership in his first session could be a remarkable advancement in criminal justice reform. [More...]

Money bail costs vulnerable communities and county governments millions of dollars each year. Passing SB 252 could change that.

Oklahomans who are arrested for nonviolent offenses often spend several weeks in local and county jails because they're unable to afford to post money bond, incurring steep costs with little benefit to public safety. A new study of court records by Open Justice Oklahoma finds that the harmful effects of money bail are felt across the state, though differing policies across counties create deep disparities in the likelihood and length of pretrial detentions. [More...]

Bill Watch: A strong bipartisan coalition could make huge advances on criminal justice reform

This legislative session, leaders of both parties, the governor, the Oklahoma business community and the public at large have expressed a clear desire to work towards ending Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis. Some of these legislative initiatives build on the progress of Gov. Fallin’s Criminal Justice Task Force, but many proposals represent new attempts to lower Oklahoma’s highest-in-the-world incarceration rate. [More...]

Gov. Stitt can save Oklahoma millions through parole reform

Gov. Stitt’s State of the State address signaled a serious desire to make criminal justice reform a signature piece of his agenda. He’s made positive comments regarding several bipartisan bills filed this legislative session aimed at stemming Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis. However, there are… Read more [More...]

2019 Priority: Make the sentencing reforms of SQ 780 retroactive

Download this fact sheet as a printable pdf here. Read about the rest of OK Policy’s 2019 Legislative Policy Priorities here. In 2016, voters approved two major justice reform initiatives, State Questions 780 and 781. SQ 780 reclassified simple drug… Read more [More...]

The Oklahoma City Police Department shows the promise of local justice reform

Most discussions about criminal justice in Oklahoma center on our prison system, which is responsible for maintaining our highest-in-the-world incarceration rate but is dangerously underfunded. While our high incarceration rate may be the most pressing issue, law enforcement agencies are the… Read more [More...]

Funding postsecondary education for incarcerated Oklahomans could pay off for public safety and the budget

Oklahoma has made encouraging progress on justice reform in recent years. Reforms passed in 2016 and 2018 will slow prison population growth and spur investments in rehabilitation. While these are important steps in the right direction, criminal justice reform should… Read more [More...]

OKPolicyCast 40: In prison for what’s now a misdemeanor (with Damion Shade and Colleen McCarty)

The OKPolicyCast is hosted by Gene Perry and produced by Gene Perry and Jessica Vazquez. You can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes, Google Play, Stitcher, or RSS. The podcast theme music is by Zébre. If you have any questions for the OKPolicyCast, topics you’d like us to cover,… Read more [More...]

Making recent justice reforms retroactive is smart policy – and a moral necessity

Voters passed State Questions 780 and 781 last year in response to Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis. These measures reclassified simple drug possession and several low-level property crimes as misdemeanors instead of felonies and directed the savings toward treatment and rehabilitation services.… Read more [More...]