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...]

Misguided budget concerns are endangering criminal justice reform

This year’s legislative session started with high hopes for the strong reform proposals that came out of the Governor’s Justice Reform Task Force (JRTF). While most of the bills sailed through their first tests of support, many have been severely… Read more [More...]

New OK Policy report shows how criminal fines and fees trap Oklahomans in justice system without increasing state revenues

Tens of thousands of Oklahomans enter the justice system each year, and many come out owing thousands of dollars in fines and fees. For poor Oklahomans, this debt can swallow up most of their family’s income and trap them in a… Read more [More...]

Steps forward and back in criminal justice legislation this year

The Oklahoma Legislature took some important steps on criminal justice reform in the 2016 session. This progress is the result of a collaborative effort by dozens of stakeholders to reduce penalties on low-level crimes and make alternative sentencing more accessible.… Read more [More...]

Instead of progress on fines and fees, last-minute legislation would hike them even further

The beginning of this year’s legislative session brought hope that lawmakers would begin to scale back justice system fines and fees that have grown enormously in size and number over the past two decades. Instead, the problem is likely to… Read more [More...]