End of Session Round-Up: Criminal justice reform was not enough of a legislative priority in 2019

See all of our end of session round-ups: Taxes | Budget | Economic Opportunity | Health Care | Education | Criminal Justice Oklahoma incarcerates its citizens at a higher rate than any other place on Earth. If Oklahoma does not… Read more [More...]

Budget Overview: The rebuilding project continues

Overall, it's best to think of this budget as a second step on what needs to be a long journey. When adjusted for inflation, this budget is still 10.1 percent  below the FY 2009 level. Over half of state agencies still have lower budgets than they did in FY 2009 without accounting for inflation. [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...]

Investments in prison job training will lower the cost of Oklahoma’s incarceration crisis

Stable employment is the single biggest factor in determining whether Oklahomans released from prison are likely to re-offend. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for justice-involved Oklahomans is five times higher than the statewide average. Workforce training in prisons is one of… Read more [More...]

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...]

Occupational licenses could soon be within reach for more Oklahomans

Nearly 30 percent of the American workforce needs a license to do their job, so we should carefully examine the rules about who can, and can’t, get an occupational license. This is especially important for the justice-involved, a group that faces multiple barriers (including licensing restrictions) to employment and economic stability.  [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...]