Oklahoma courts have not suspended fines and fees

Oklahoma’s county courts, which handle all civil and most criminal cases across the state, have suspended most of their activities until April 15 at the earliest. There has been no official guidance about the collection of criminal fines and fees while court activity is suspended [More...]

It’s time to restructure Oklahoma courts’ wildly inefficient and unjust fines and fees system

Oklahoma courts remain overly reliant on fine and fee revenue to provide funding for basic functions of government. This system creates a dynamic where millions of dollars each year are funneled out of Oklahoma’s poorest communities to fund the agencies that should be focused solely on doing justice. [More...]

The Governor’s justice task force gives lawmakers a chance to address the scale of Oklahoma’s prison crisis

The RESTORE task force could bring greater justice to the state’s prison system by strengthening investments in alternatives to incarceration and treatment, reducing fines and fees, lowering the impact of cash bail on the poorest Oklahomans, and creating a dedicated re-entry system.  [More...]

Spottedcrow case highlights Oklahoma justice system’s flaws (Capitol Update)

At some point it would seem to be of no benefit to the state or to offenders to keep them in debt under threat of arrest and jail.    [More...]

HB 1269 makes 780 retroactive but leaves issues unresolved

HB 1269 is a positive step for justice reform in Oklahoma, but a recent amendment will complicate the bill’s resentencing process and create financial hurdles that will lessen the positive impact of retroactivity. [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...]

2019 Priority: Reform cash bail and court fines and fees

Download this fact sheet as a printable pdf here. Read about the rest of OK Policy’s 2019 Legislative Policy Priorities here. Since 2000, the Legislature has added dozens of new fines and fees for criminal defendants to finance our underfunded… Read more [More...]

2019 Priority: Fund public defenders and courts to reduce caseloads and reduce reliance on fines and fees

Download this fact sheet as a printable pdf here. Read about the rest of OK Policy’s 2019 Legislative Policy Priorities here. Public defenders play a critical role in our justice system, serving as legal representation to the vast majority of… Read more [More...]

Oklahoma’s debtors’ prisons aren’t just a nuisance – they’re an epidemic

The problem of debtors’ prisons in Oklahoma has slowly come out into the open in recent years. More and more criminal defendants have been unable to pay off the thousands of dollars in fines and fees piled on them by… Read more [More...]

Millions of dollars in court debt hang over residents of Oklahoma’s poorest neighborhoods

Earlier this year, we released a report detailing the growth of fees attached to criminal court cases in Oklahoma. We found that as legislators attempt to prop up falling state revenues, fees have risen for every type of crime. When… Read more [More...]