Lawmakers must build on criminal justice reforms, not tear them down (Legislative Wrap-Up)

While the Oklahoma Legislature passed some important measures in 2024, there were also disconcerting attempts to undo years of improvements. Some of these harmful measures were stopped, but many positive changes also failed to progress. If Oklahoma truly wants an effective criminal justice system, legislators must protect and build on the progress made over the years. [More...]

Eliminate justice-related fees and invest in Oklahoma’s justice system

If Oklahoma's lawmakers are serious about improving public safety, they should focus their efforts on eliminating justice-related fees and fines. Doing so would help justice-involved Oklahomans and improve public safety, provide stable funding for essential public safety services, and would be a cost-effective investment for our justice system. [More...]

Meaningful change still needed to address mounting problems in the child welfare and youth justice systems (2024 Legislative Wrap-up)

Oklahoma is not known for being a safe and hospitable place for children. Oklahoma, for the second year in a row, ranks 46th nationally in overall child well-being. Lawmakers sought to address this problem in the 2024 session by passing budget increases to vital services like the child welfare and youth justice systems. However, Oklahoma’s structural budget deficit has meant that state agencies and service providers in the child welfare systems have continually been forced to do more with less year after year. [More...]

Criminalizing homelessness is harmful and ineffective

Proposals to criminalize homelessness are harmful and counterproductive. Research shows us that the best way to combat homelessness is to increase access to affordable housing. [More...]

Fact Check: Has Oklahoma’s larceny rate skyrocketed since SQ 780 was passed in 2016? No. 

Some lawmakers and others have shared OSBI data purporting to show a dramatic increase in larceny, shoplifting, or other property crimes. OSBI has said those spikes were created by changes in data reporting, not increases in crime.  [More...]

Oklahoma should invest more in the youth justice system

– – – With the overall occurrence of youth delinquency and detention at a historic low, Oklahoma has the opportunity to invest more resources in delinquency prevention and alternatives to incarceration in the youth legal system. The legislature has taken… Read more [More...]

Interim study on youth justice shows need for funding, cohesive systems for prevention and treatment services (Capitol Update)

Rep. Amanda Swope, D-Tulsa, who in her life outside the legislature is the Tribal Juvenile Justice Program Director for the Muscogee Nation, brought her passion for helping troubled youth with her when she was elected to the House of Representatives.… Read more [More...]

Lawmakers made incremental changes towards justice reform last session, but Oklahomans deserve much more 

During Oklahoma’s 2023 legislative session, lawmakers made some positive improvements in the state’s criminal legal system, including investments into diversion programs and significant reforms around court fines and fees. While these changes are commendable, they are only the beginning of… Read more [More...]

Oklahomans deserve justice reform; there is still time to deliver results this session  

Now that the Oklahoma state legislature is roughly halfway through the 2023 session, there is still time for lawmakers to prioritize criminal justice issues. In recent years, Oklahoma has made some progress in modernizing the state’s justice system and alleviating… Read more [More...]

It is time for lawmakers to revisit Oklahoma’s possession with intent to distribute law

Over the last six years, Oklahoma has seen a marked reduction in the number of people going to prison, with the largest reductions coming from drug convictions thanks to recent voter-approved justice reform efforts. However, there’s more lawmakers can do.… Read more [More...]